Mere days after winning its bid to block the sale of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet in the US, Apple has scored another significant legal victory in its ongoing battle against its South Korean rival.
Yesterday, California District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone should also be subject to a Stateside sales ban prior to a full patent trial taking place.
"Apple has clearly shown that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief," Judge Koh wrote making her ruling, copies of which are readily available online.
Apple must now place a bond in excess of £60 million ($100 million) – to compensate Samsung for lost sales if the verdict is not upheld in court – to enforce the rare pre-trial injunctions.
Although the ban could end up being only temporary, it still represents a major blow for the Korean tech giant and its partner Google - the patents being contested largely relate to the Internet behemoth's Android operating system.
Judge Koh highlighted four specific patents held by Apple as "likely" having been infringed by the Samsung device and the OS it runs, including one related to the Siri voice-activated assistance feature available on the iPhone 4S.
The case has likely put a damper on an otherwise encouraging week for Google, with the Mountain View-based company hogging a considerable amount of the limelight over the last few days on the back of its I/O conference and, more specifically, the Project Glass augmented reality device that was launched there.
In a worst case scenario, Judge Koh's ruling could necessitate a complete redesign of Google's latest Android OS – including the much sought after Ice Cream Sandwich, and the most recent incremental upgrade, Jelly Bean 4.1, which was also unveiled at I/O this week.
Given Apple's aggressive attitude in seeking legal blockades against its rivals, it is not implausible to foresee the Cupertino-based company bringing similar cases against other manufacturers of Android-powered phones.
The ruling contrasts with a recent decision made in Apple's case against Motorola, where a judge ruled that neither side could prove lost earnings, and terminated the proceedings.
Apple and Samsung are the two largest smartphone makers in the world, claiming more than half of the global market share between them.
Recently, industry analysts predicted a continuation of Apple's success as it looks ahead to a September launch of its latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5.
However, Samsung's Galaxy S3, launched in the UK in late-May, has enjoyed impressive sales, with the device posing a genuine threat to Apple and its iPhone.
Image source: Northern California District Court