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Apple asks judge for ban on Galaxy S III before US launch

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Apple has submitted a request to have sales of the Galaxy S III blocked in the US before its launch date later this month. Apple seeks to have both the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Nexus decided in the same preliminary injunction motion, which is set to be decided tomorrow.

Samsung Galaxy S III white (STOCK)
Samsung Galaxy S III white (STOCK)

Samsung may have pulled off an incredible feat by getting five major US carriers to pick up nearly-identical versions of the Galaxy S III, but if Apple has its way the launch won't go as smoothly as we've been expecting. The Cupertino-based company has filed a motion requesting Judge Koh to have Samsung's headline Android smartphone blocked in the US before it starts shipping later this month. Specifically, Apple has requested that the judge add the Galaxy S III to its current motion for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, the hearing for which is set for tomorrow. Apple argues that the Galaxy S III is similar enough to the Galaxy Nexus to be bundled in the same motion, and if it gets its way it won't have to submit a new request and — more importantly — it may block Samsung before it gets its new devices into customers hands.

Apple claims that in its brief analysis of a UK-sourced version of the phone, the Galaxy S III infringes two of the four patents that it's going after the Galaxy Nexus for: universal search and smart links (like those on phone numbers that push users out to the dialer). Apple hasn't yet concluded whether or not the other two patents (slide to unlock and keyboard suggestions) are also infringing, but due to the similarities it says that both smartphones can be judged together. Samsung, in its opposition to the motion, says that "This should not be done on two days' notice, without due process, and with no factual record whatsoever" and that "Adding a new product to this motion would significantly change the analysis of all four preliminary injunction factors." Samsung says that should Apple wish to seek a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy S III, it should enter a separate motion, giving both parties enough time to analyze the evidence. We'll let you know whether or not Judge Koh grants Apple's request as soon as we hear it.

Matt Macari contributed to this report.