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Wednesday, June 06, 2012, 01:35 pm PT (04:35 pm ET)

Apple seeks Samsung Galaxy S III injunction before US launch [u]

Apple filed a motion late Tuesday to block U.S. sales of Samsung's new Galaxy S III smartphone, claiming that the handset should be included as part of another ongoing preliminary injunction case against the Galaxy Nexus.

Update: Samsung filed a formal opposition to Apple's motion on Wednesday:
Adding a new product to this motion would significantly change the analysis of all four preliminary injunction factors. This should not be done on two days’ notice, without due process, and with no factual record whatsoever.

The full filing can be found here.

In the formal request, Apple claims that the the Galaxy S III, set to hit U.S. shores on June 21, is a direct successor to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and should thus be enjoined to the case already underway in California, reports FOSS Patents.

The motion was filed a little over one day before the Nexus case is scheduled to begin proceedings.

If the request is granted, the Nexus injunction suit could kill two birds with one stone and stop the sales of both the legacy Galaxy handset as well as the as yet unreleased in the U.S. Galaxy S III.

In researching the matter, Apple procured the new Galaxy S III which is on sale in the U.K. and "determined that this device clearly infringes at least two of the Apple patents at issue in the preliminary injunction motion for the exact same reasons as the Galaxy Nexus."

The iPhone maker goes on to say that "[a]ccording to press reports, Samsung has already sold over nine million pre- orders of the Galaxy S III; indeed, the Galaxy S III has been reported to be the most extensively pre- ordered piece of consumer electronics in history." Apple is likely referring to a report from the Korea Economic Daily that claimed a Samsung official said pre-orders for the handset had reached upward of 9 million units in an "off-the-record" statement.

At the moment, Apple is still investigating whether the Samsung device infringes on two other patents asserted in the original Nexus injunction motion, but since the S III is slated to hit shelves in two weeks "will limit its current request for preliminary relief against the Galaxy S III to the '604 [unified search, Siri] and '647 [data tapping] patents, because it is clear that infringement can be shown with respect to these patents based on the current record."



With combined Apple and Samsung smartphone sales expected to account for over half of the global market through 2013, each handset released is an important cog in the mobile revenue machine and any stoppage of sales would represent a critical blow to either company. Although the South Korean electronics giant has a number of Android-based models, an injunction against the flagship Galaxy S III would no doubt have a negative impact on the company's bottom line.

An injunction win would be a windfall for Apple as the appeals process could restrict the Galaxy S III's window of availability before an expected next-generation iPhone is released sometime this fall.

Tuesday's filing is the latest development in the companies' worldwide patent struggle that now spans over ten countries.