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Ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus overturned by U.S. appeals court

Appeals court says insufficient evidence to show that Galaxy Nexus infringes Apple patent

A ban on imports of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus into the U.S. was reversed by a U.S. appeals court Tuesday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed an earlier ruling by Judge Lucy Koh in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The district court imposed a ban on imports of the Galaxy Nexus into the U.S. based on alleged infringement of a patent related to data search sources.

In its conclusion, the appeals court wrote that "we hold that the district court abused its discretion in enjoining the sales of the Galaxy Nexus."

Apple originally filed a suit against Samsung alleging that Galaxy Nexus infringed multiple patents including 8,086,604, related to data search from multiple sources. The district court determined that an injunction should issue based on alleged infringement of the '604 patent, while the other motions were rejected.

Apple did not, however, show sufficient evidence that Samsung infringed on the patent with Galaxy Nexus, the appeals court said in its ruling. Some of Apple's claims were related to its Siri feature, in which consumers use the voice-controlled capability to search for information.

"There is also no dispute, however, that the Galaxy Nexus does not have a feature equivalent to Siri. Apple nonetheless argues that establishing a causal nexus here is only a matter of connecting the dots," the appeals court said in its ruling.

This is one win for Samsung in a long legal battle. A jury earlier awarded Apple US$1.05 billion in damages after winning a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung, a ruling that has since been appealed by the Korean firm. Based on the ruling, Apple has also asked to ban sales of other Samsung smartphones in the U.S.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com


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