A US appeals court on Monday breathed new life into Apple's long-running attempt to secure an injunction against Samsung, ordering a California judge to reconsider imposing a permanent sales ban on some Samsung products.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that the lower court abused its discretion in denying the injunction with respect to utility patents and asked it to reconsider.
The US District Court for the Northern District of California had refused the injunction in December 2012. Apple had requested it because of a ruling that Samsung products infringed on three design and three utility patents related to mobile devices.
The appeals court upheld the lower court's refusal to order an injunction on the design patents.
Apple, which makes the iPhone, has been incensed by what it considers Android knockoffs of iPhones and iPads, many of which are made by Samsung. The two companies have been in a complex, long-running battle over global patent litigation.
Last year, Apple was awarded over $1 billion after it convinced ajury that Samsung copied various iPhone features - such as the ability to pinch and zoom images on the screen - along with design touches like the phone's flat, black glass screen.
In March US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose ruled that the jury had made errors in some calculations, impacting about US$400 million of the verdict.
Koh ordered a retrial of that portion of the original award, which is now wrapping up in San Jose. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday.
Koh also rejected Apple's request for a permanent ban on the sale of several Samsung products in the lucrative US market.
Representatives for Apple and Samsung were not immediately available for comment.
The case at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is Apple Inc v Samsung Electronics Co., Inc. The case number is 2013-1129