Apple presses case for Samsung sales ban in appeals filing

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:41am IST

Models pose with the Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a HD Super AMOLED display, during a news conference in Hong Kong October 19, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files

Models pose with the Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone to feature Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a HD Super AMOLED display, during a news conference in Hong Kong October 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tech giant Apple Inc (AAPL.O), battling Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS) over patents in several countries, argued on Thursday that a U.S. appeals court should reconsider its decision to overturn a pretrial sales ban on Samsung for infringement.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October overturned a pretrial sales ban ordered by a lower court in California. The order was to stop sales of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Apple argued that this was inappropriate and asked for an "en banc review," which means that a larger panel of judges would reconsider the decision made by the three-judge panel in October.

The fight is over a single patent - one that allows the smartphone to search multiple data storage locations at once. For example, the smartphone could search the device's memory as well as the Internet with a single query.

Apple argued that the sales ban should be reinstated because it uses the patent in question and competes with Samsung. The three-judge panel had said that consumers did not buy Samsung phones primarily because of the patent, and thus, a sales ban was inappropriate.

It has become increasingly difficult for companies to win sales bans related to patent infringement in recent years. Such sales injunctions have been a key for companies trying to increase their leverage in courtroom patent fights.

Apple, in a different patent lawsuit, scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung in August when a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

The Nexus phone was not included in that trial, but is part of a tandem case Apple filed against Samsung earlier this year.

The case in the Federal Circuit is Apple Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al., 12-1507.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh rejected Apple's request for a permanent sales ban against 26 mostly older Samsung phones, though any injunction could potentially have been extended to Samsung's newer Galaxy products. Koh cited the Federal Circuit's Nexus ruling as binding legal precedent in her order.

In a separate court filing on Thursday, Apple said it intended to appeal Koh's ruling. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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