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Google prepping software patch to help Samsung dodge Galaxy Nexus injunction


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Google has said it will soon release a software patch that will remove the potentially infringing search functionality from Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone and could help it avoid the sales ban recently imposed by a U.S. court.

The Mountain View, Calif., company told The Next Web on Tuesday that it was planning to "imminently" release the new software.

The update will reportedly disable local search options from the unified search feature on the homescreen of the Galaxy Nexus. Voice search on the device is also expected to be restricted to just Web queries, without any local options.

Samsung experienced yet another legal setback on Tuesday when U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh shot down the company's request to stay the ban while it appeals. Though Apple had asked for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus on the basis of four patents, the court granted the injunction last week specifically for a search-related patent entitled "Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system."

It's not immediately clear, however, whether Samsung would be able to sell the Galaxy Nexus after the patch is released, as the court would presumably need to decide whether the new software actually removed the suspected infringement.

The Korean electronics giant responded on Tuesday to the news that its motion to stay had been denied, noting that it was "disappointed" with the decision. The company said in a statement that it will continue with its appeal and keep "working closely" with Google on the issue.

As of late Tuesday evening, the Galaxy Nexus was no longer directly on sale on the Google Play Store and was listed as "Coming Soon," as noted by The Verge, though it's not known whether the change is directly related to the injunction.

Google and Samsung announced the Galaxy Nexus as the reference device for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich last October. The device went on sale in the U.S. last December.

Samsung's full statement as provided to The Next Web:

Samsung is disappointed with the court’s decision that denied our motion to stay. We believe today’s ruling will ultimately reduce the availability of superior products to consumers in the United States.

We will continue to pursue an appeal of the GALAXY Nexus preliminary injunction, which we filed on July 2 to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Meanwhile, we are also working closely with Google to resolve this matter, as the patent in question concerns Google’s unified search function.