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Thursday, October 11, 2012, 09:21 am PT (12:21 pm ET)

Appeals court reverses ban on Samsung Galaxy Nexus in Apple patent dispute

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday overturned a ruling that barred sales of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, allowing the device to go back on sale.

Apple initially won the injunction against the Galaxy Nexus in June when it was awarded by Judge Lucy Koh in California. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Thursday that the district court in California "abused its discretion" when it barred sales of the Galaxy Nexus.

"At best, the district court's finding indicate that some consumers who buy the iPhone 4S like Siri because, among other things, its search results are comprehensive," the court said in its ruling. "That does not sufficiently suggest, however, that consumers would buy the Galaxy Nexus because of its improved comprehensiveness in search."

The appeals court that it is irrelevant how much sales of the Galaxy Nexus may harm Apple, because the court found there is not enough evidence "showing that the harm flows from Samsung' alleged infringement." As a result, the appeals court ruled that the district court "abused its discretion in determining that the irreparable harm factor counsels in favor of entering an injunction."

Galaxy Nexus


In her initial ruling, Judge Koh cited U.S Patent No. U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 regarding Siri voice commands and unified search functionality first levied against the Google and Samsung flagship handset by Apple in February.

"Apple has articulated a plausible theory of irreparable harm" due to "long-term loss of market share and losses of downstream sales," Judge Koh said.

The Galaxy Nexus is Google's flagship Android handset and was created in cooperation with Samsung. The device has since been supplanted by newer Android-based products, including Samsung's own Galaxy S III.