Apple's bid to get a ban on sales in the U.S. of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet has been delayed after a federal court in California said on Monday it could not rule right away on Apple's request for a preliminary injunction, while the matter is before an appeals court.
The company moved the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division last month for a preliminary injunction prohibiting Samsung and its U.S. subsidiaries from infringing Apple's D504,889 patent (D'889 patent), including by selling in the U.S. the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
In a May 14 opinion the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had concluded "that Apple had shown that it was likely to suffer irreparable harm from the sales of Samsung's infringing tablets," and disagreed with the District Court's conclusion that Apple had failed to show that it was likely to succeed on the merits, according to a filing by Apple.
The appeals court remanded to the District Court to assess the balance of hardships and public interest factors.
Apple filed in July last year for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, which had been released about four months earlier, as well as several Samsung smartphones. It alleged that Samsung had infringed the D'889 patent, as well as a utility patent.
District Judge Lucy Koh said Monday that the court determines that it may not rule on Apple's request for a preliminary injunction prior to the issuance of the mandate from the Federal Circuit.
On May 29, Samsung filed a petition for rehearing of the panel decision. Until the Federal Circuit decides Samsung's motion, the three judge panel, or the Federal Circuit sitting en banc, may rehear the matter, alter or amend the opinion, or otherwise change the scope of issues that must be addressed on remand, Judge Koh said.
"It would create confusion to rule on the preliminary injunction motion, only to have to reconsider the issue should the panel, or the Federal Circuit, decide to alter, amend, or reverse the opinion," she added.
The judge said Apple can renew its request for a preliminary injunction once the appeal court issues its ruling.
"This Court should enter a preliminary injunction forthwith to protect Apple from additional irreparable harm," Apple had said in its filing.