Judge Denies Apple Request for U.S. Ban on Samsung Devices

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Samsung has just won one crucial victory in its legal battle with Apple. It’ll get to keep its products on retailers’ shelves this Christmas. On Friday, a judge denied Apple an injunction that would have allowed the electronics giant to keep four of Samsung’s products out of stores.

The ruling on Friday allowed the four devices—Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1—to be available for sale in U.S. stores during the busy shopping holiday season. Apple has been arguing that Samsung’s products copy design elements from key iPhone and iPad patents. The judge claimed that the injunction would not necessarily harm Apple enough to justify the measure.

(MORE: Samsung Reportedly Trying to Block iPhone 5 Sales in Korea)

Samsung has been embroiled in a patent dispute with Apple; both companies have been taking their conflicts global, with legal ramifications in Australia, Germany and numerous other countries. On Friday, the sales injunction in Australia against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab was extended to December 9th. An appeals court had overturned a sales ban earlier last week before the injunction was prolonged. However, Samsung stands to lose more with a ban in the U.S. given its larger market share, which tipped the court’s decision in the manufacturer’s favor.

Samsung remains optimistic about its ongoing legal dispute with Apple. A spokesman for Samsung said that “[this ruling] confirms our long-held view that Apple’s arguments lack merit. In particular, the court has recognized that Samsung has raised substantial questions about the validity of certain Apple design patents. We are confident that we can demonstrate the distinctiveness of Samsung’s mobile devices when the case goes to trial next year.”

(MORE: Germany: You’re Banned Forever Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1)

As noted by PC Magazine, the judge responsible for Friday’s ruling noted that Apple’s design complaints weren’t necessarily just aesthetic. Given their inherent functionality, the judge said, such features could be duplicated by any of Apple’s competitors. Though this latest decision swings in the favor of Apple’s rivals, Apple could still win the lawsuit. The full case is expected to go to trial in July of next year.

MORE: What a Patent War Means for South Korea’s Samsung

[via Wall Street Journal]

Erica Ho is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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