No sales of Galaxy Nexus in US -- for now

After Apple wins another injunction banning the sale of a Samsung product, will Galaxy S III be Apple's next target?

For the second time this week, sale of an Android-based device made by Samsung has been banned in the United States by a federal judge.

On Friday, Judge Lucy Koh barred the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone in the United States until a patent lawsuit between the Korean company and Apple is settled.

In her ruling, Koh said that Apple had clearly shown that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm unless it was awarded injunctive relief.

Since American judges don't issue preliminary injunctions in these kinds of cases lightly, this decision, and one earlier this week against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet doesn't bode well for the Korean company that is also a major producer of components for Apple products.

Not only is irreparable harm considered by judges before resorting to an extreme move like an injunction on sales of a device, but also the likelihood of victory at trial by the injunction seeker. In her decision Friday, Koh noted that Apple had shown in its request for an injunction that it would prevail in court over Samsung based on the merits of its case and that its patent claims would be upheld.

Apple Pays for its Claim

However, the injunction came with a price to Apple. The company had to post a bond of $96 million -- an estimate of what Samsung will lose while the injunction is in effect -- that would be awarded to the Korean firm should Apple lose its case, which has a trial date scheduled for 2014.

Apple's patent claims in this lawsuit against Samsung amount to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse for the Korean concern, observes patent blogger Florian Mueller. Those patents are related to "data tapping," Siri and unified search, slide to unlock, and word completion on a touchscreen.

The worse could be yet to come for Samsung. Apple is also trying to drag the Korean company's hot new smartphone, the Galaxy S III into the case [PDF]. The Galaxy S III was critically acclaimed when it was announced in June in London and Samsung predicts it will ship 10 million of the smartphones globally by the end of July. All four major U.S. wireless carriers offer the phone.

The pair of setbacks for Samsung this week put a damper on an exciting week for Google and Android. The company announced its first branded tablet, the Nexus 7, made by Asus; and introduced the next version of Android, Release 4.1 "Jellybean." Nevertheless, Google acknowledged that the injunctions issued against Samsung's Android products were a buzz kill for the search giant.

"We're disappointed with this decision, but we believe the correct result will be reached as more evidence comes to light," it said in an e-mailed statement to Wired magazine.

Samsung is likely to appeal Koh's injunction, just as it's appealing the Galaxy Tab injunction issued earlier in the week.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
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