A US judge has struck down Apple's request for an injunction banning the import of Samsung gadgets that had infringed its patents.
California District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled on Thursday that the iPhone giant had not shown it would suffer from the import and sales of nearly two dozen of Sammy's older Galaxy mobile products – including the Galaxy S2 and Tab 10, if your memory stretches that far back.
The ruling concludes an effort first launched by Apple in 2011 asking that a court move to strike down the import and sale of devices in the US which had been found to have infringed Apple's own patents relating to the design and operation of handhelds.
A separate hearing regarding newer Samsung devices and patent infringements is set to kick off later this month.
In the ruling, Judge Koh said Apple had failed to show that it would suffer irreparable harm in the marketplace should the older devices be sold. The ruling does not impact the $924m in penalties Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple for the infringement, but it does strike down an injunction claim Apple sought on the devices.
"Based on the totality of all the evidence, the Court finds that Apple has not shown the combined effect of the three patented features drive consumer demand," Judge Koh said in her decision.
The patents covered a number of touchscreen finger gesture and scrolling features to navigate through documents. In the ruling, Koh said the features related to the patents were not considered key selling points for the Samsung devices and thus should not be grounds for blocking them from consumers.
Additionally, Koh noted that Apple has not provided any new evidence that today's latest devices infringe the patents, knocking back the argument that a ban on old devices blocks future infringement.
"The court concludes that Apple has not met its burden of proof to warrant an injunction," Koh concluded. "Most significant is Apple's failure to prove a casual nexus between Samsung's infringement on Apple's patents and Apple's irreparable harm."
The move is the latest turn in a patent war between Apple and various Android-using vendors, which has dragged on for years now and, barring a miraculous series of settlements, will likely draw on for several more as the Cupertino company looks to make good on cofounder Steve Jobs' threat of "thermonuclear war" against the Google-powered platform. ®