The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh can decide whether or not to lift the ban on U.S. sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch tablet, the court said today, Businessweek reports. That means Koh, who had previously refused to rule on the matter despite Samsung’s request, could overturn the ban pending this decision, making Samsung’s tablet available once again to consumers.
Note that this isn’t a ruling on whether or not sales will actually resume, but instead gives Koh liberty to decide the matter. Since Koh ruled that Samsung did not infringe one Apple design patent upon which the injunction was based in the first place (even though a jury found it did infringe other patents), it seems likely that a ruling favorable to Samsung could be forthcoming.
In fact, in an earlier ruling, Koh basically said as much (via Ars Technica):
The Court agrees with Samsung that the sole basis for the June 26 Preliminary Injunction was the Court’s finding that Samsung likely infringed the D’889 Patent. The jury has found otherwise. Thus, the sole basis for the June 26 Preliminary Injunction no longer exists. Based on these facts alone, the Court at this time would dissolve the June 26 Preliminary Injunction if the Court had jurisdiction.
Koh couldn’t lift the ban, she said, because Samsung had already appealed the matter to a separate court, thus tying her hands pending the decision of the Court of Appeals. There’s also a bond of $2.6 million at stake that Apple had to post in order to secure the ban in the first place, which may also go to Samsung depending on how Koh ultimately rules.
Of course, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is old news at this point, and Samsung has been busy with its Galaxy Note 10.1-inch tablet in that same category. Still, since Samsung is facing a number of other potential injunctions as a result of Koh’s rulings, any victory, minor or otherwise, is a welcome one.