The tide is turning against Apple in its legal scrap with Samsung. A US judge has refused to ban Samsung Galaxy phones and Galaxy Tab tablets in the latest skirmish between the two over alleged copying and patent infringements.
California Judge Lucy Koh ruled, "It is not clear that an injunction on Samsung's accused devices would prevent Apple from being irreparably harmed", refusing to bar sales of smart phones and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.
Apple had requested the preliminary injunction to keep Galaxy phones and tablets off shelves over Christmas and in the run-up to the trial, set for 30 July, 2012.
Apple claims that Samsung had copied the look and feel of the iPad and iPhone in the design of the Galaxy phones and tablets and their accessories -- even ripping off the packaging. Samsung counters that Apple is infringing some of its patents.
The legal war is being fought on various fronts, with hard-fought injunctions being won and overturned and beaten back again in Japan, Australia and Germany. In total there are 20 knock-down drag-out cases raging in the courtrooms of some 10 countries.
Brilliantly, Apple has countered Samsung's claims that some similarities between devices are unavoidable with a list of suggestions. Apple's all like, "Hey Samsung, you could make your gadgets in a colour that isn't black, or a shape that isn't a rectangle. Or, like, make a tablet that isn't flat, or isn't thin. It's not good enough for us but it might work for you, bro."
Samsung's strategy of devising Galaxy phones and tablets in just about every size appears to be paying off, as devices like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 have emerged as the most credible rivals to the iPhone and iPad.
Not only is Samsung Apple's number one rival in terms of hardware, it's also at the vanguard of Android -- Google's mobile phone and tablet software used by various hardware manufacturers. Apple's legal fight with Samsung and other Android-powered manufacturers is the manifestation of founder Steve Jobs' vowed "thermonuclear war" against Android.
Apple's nukes could backfire: should Samsung ultimately triumph over the fruity phone-flingers, it's possible Apple will end up paying patent license fees to its Korean rival.