A lot of people consider the ongoing technology patent wars to be a silly thing, but matters just got very serious for Samsung in its international IP squabble with Apple. Yesterday, a California district judge issued a preliminary sales injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States.
"Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her decision.
"In this case, although Samsung will necessarily be harmed by being forced to withdraw its product from the market before the merits can be determined after a full trial, the harm faced by Apple absent an injunction on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is greater."
Apple says the Galaxy Tab 10.1's aesthetic, which closely mirrors that of the iPad, infringes upon design patents held by the company. Samsung worked around a similar German sales ban by introducing a new version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with a few minor design tweaks.
The injunction is a major blow, but it won't cripple Samsung completely; the company can still sell other models in the Galaxy Tab line, including the new and improved Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.
The sales ban will take effect once Apple posts a $2.6 million bond. That money will be used to compensate Samsung for damages if the court rules the injunction was unwarranted further down the judicial line. Samsung is expected to appeal.