Thursday was probably not the best day that Samsung’s legal team has ever encountered. Fresh off a decision in Australia to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab, a U.S. judge has ruled that the device likely infringes on patents held by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) but avoided taking the extra step of imposing a preliminary injunction.
Samsung and Apple are tangling in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California over whether the Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet infringes on patents that Apple was awarded for the iPad, in addition to the skirmishes taking place in many other parts of the world. According to Reuters, Judge Lucy Koh had little sympathy for Samsung’s claims that it did not infringe on those patents, at one point holding the two devices in the air and asking Samsung’s lawyers to identify which one was which, according Reuters reporter Dan Levine’s Twitter feed.
“Took them a while to do so,” Levine reported. Judge Koh wound up denying Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab based on a “utility patent” held by Apple, or a patent on an actual invention as opposed to a “design patent,” which is “issued for a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. She did not rule on whether or not an injunction should be imposed on based on the design patents Apple is also asserted against Samsung.
The problem for Samsung is that the judge is now of the opinion that the Galaxy Tab “do infringe” on the iPad, according to Reuters (NYSE: TRI). That means the case will move forward, growing more and more expensive for Samsung and potentially winding up in front of a jury in Apple’s backyard.