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Thursday, January 05, 2012, 01:09 pm PT (04:09 pm ET)

Samsung denied iPhone ban in Italy

An Italian court has denied Samsung's request for a preliminary injunction against the iPhone 4S, making it the third time the South Korean electronics maker has failed to obtain a ban on Apple's newest handset in Europe.

In a report from Italian news agency ANSA published on Thursday, it was revealed that Samsung's bid to block iPhone 4S sales in Italy was rejected by the Milan-based Italian first-instance court for patent cases, according to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller.

The Italian court's rejection marks the third straight loss for Samsung in its effort to curb Apple handset sales in Europe, and follows similar decisions by France's Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris in December 2011 and Dutch court Rechtbank's-Gravenhage's ruling in October.

Both companies are embroiled in a worldwide patent war, though thus far only Apple has seen success in its injunction requests and won bans against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, Australia and the Netherlands.

Mueller points out, however, that the Cupertino, Calif., company is only slightly ahead despite successfully banning the tablet in the three countries. He goes on to explain that Apple could potentially owe Samsung a significant amount in damages if courts in those states find that the preliminary injunctions were improperly granted.

Although the two electronics giants shot for short-goal wins in order to disrupt each other's business, the plan was ultimately ineffective. It seems clear that in order to continue with this line of patent litigation, a regular comprehensive proceeding must take place which means that the dispute is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

The patent war erupted when Apple filed a suit against Samsung in April 2011, alleging that the South Korean company blatantly copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad. Most recently, Apple's motion in the U.S. was shot down in December.

The dispute now spans over 10 countries across four continents.