Apple didn't quite manage to block the US launch of Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone — though delays may change that — but today US District Judge Lucy Koh agreed to tentatively stop sales of the company's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US. "While Samsung will certainly suffer lost sales from the issuance of an injunction, the hardship to Apple of having to directly compete with Samsung’s infringing products outweighs Samsung’s harm in light of the previous findings by the Court," she writes.
While Koh did consider Samsung's argument that a ban would damage relationships with wireless carriers which sell the Tab 10.1, she was unpersuaded by the idea: "Samsung cannot be heard to complain about broken business relationships that it has established on infringing products."
As part of the arrangement, Apple has agreed to post a $2.6 million bond just in case Samsung somehow manages to prove that Apple's D'889 design patent is invalid, to compensate Samsung for the loss, but Judge Koh's order seems to suggest that she doesn't think Samsung has much of a case here. German courts have already banned the device, after all, though they found that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N was sufficiently different to escape infringement. Koh seems to take an even stronger stance against Samsung, though, writing that "any product that is no more than colorably different from this specified product" is also part of the injunction.
However, that tiny $2.6 million bond goes a long way to show just how little difference an injunction might make in the long run. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 might still be on sale at some outlets, but it's already obsolete as far as the technology world is concerned, and its successor, the Galaxy Tab 2, is already on the market. We'll have to see if the Tab 2 is "colorably different," but we're guessing it probably is.
Update: It's no surprise that Samsung wasn't entirely pleased with Judge Koh's ruling today, but it is a little surprising to see that it notified the court that it has already appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Then again, why wait?