SAN JOSE, California: An Apple Inc. lawyer said the iPhone and iPad maker may seek a legal order stopping the launch of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd’s Galaxy S III phone in the United States later this month.
At a hearing in a San Jose, California federal court, Apple attorney Josh Krevitt said the company could file for a temporary restraining order against Samsung soon.
“Once sales are made, the harm is irreparable,” Krevitt said.
However, US District Judge Lucy Koh said she has many other cases. If Apple decides to seek a restraining order, it would likely delay a July trial date over different Samsung phones, as well as the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
“I cannot be an Apple v. Samsung judge,” Koh said.
Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement last year, accusing the South Korean electronics maker of “slavishly” copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung denies the claims and countersued.
Apple’s comments on Thursday came a day after Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone vendor, expanded its CEO’s role to include oversight of corporate strategy across the entire Samsung Group - a conglomerate of more than 80 companies.
Choi Gee-sung, 61, spearheaded Samsung’s ascension to smartphone and TV leadership and his elevation signals that the storied South Korean conglomerate is grooming its next leader.
Apple filed papers this week seeking to ban Samsung’s new Galaxy S III, along with the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung has already booked over 9 million preorders of the Galaxy S III, which is set to be sold by carriers in the United States on June 21, Apple said in its court filing.
Samsung, however, argued that Apple should not be allowed to seek such a fast injunction against the Galaxy S III.
Samsung attorney William Price also said the technology covered by Apple’s patents - such as auto-correcting typed text - are not responsible for sales of Galaxy phones.
“There is no advertising or marketing on these features at all” by Apple, Price said.
Samsung’s Galaxy products run on the Android operating system, developed by Google. In addition to Samsung’s legal team, several Google attorneys attended the hearing before Koh on Thursday.
Apple has also accused Google’s Motorola Mobility unit of infringing its iPhone patents. However, a Chicago-based federal judge on Thursday tentatively scrapped a trial between those two that had been scheduled to begin next week.
“Neither party can establish a right to relief,” Judge Richard Posner wrote.
In California, Koh did not rule from the bench on Thursday on Apple’s request for an injunction on the Nexus.
The Samsung case in US District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc. vs. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al., 12-cv-630.
In a separate development, federal judge canceled a scheduled June 11 trial between Apple Inc. and Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility unit over patents related to mobile phones and tablet computers, and expects to dismiss the case because neither can prove damages.
In a “tentative” order, US Circuit Judge Richard Posner in Chicago on Thursday said each company’s case should be dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought up again.
He said neither Apple nor Motorola Mobility had enough admissible evidence of damages to withstand dismissal.
Posner also said to grant injunctions against infringements “would impose costs disproportionate to the harm to the patentee and the benefit of the alleged infringement to the alleged infringer and would be contrary to the public interest.”
The judge said he expects to more fully explain his reasoning in a written opinion within one week. Posner normally handles appeals, rather than cases in trial court.
“We are pleased by the Illinois trial court’s tentative ruling today dismissing Apple’s patent claims and look forward to receiving the full decision,” Google said in a statement.
Apple declined to comment.
The trial, which would have been before a jury, would have been the first between the companies since Google last month bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.
It is one of many lawsuits worldwide pitting Apple, whose iPhone is the world’s most popular smartphone, against Motorola Mobility, whose parent produces the Android operating system.
In 2012, the iPhone is expected to capture more than 20 percent of the global smartphone market, while 61 percent of smartphones will use the Android system, International Data Corp. said.
Apple had sued Motorola Mobility for alleged infringements of four patents, but a May 22 ruling by Posner scuttled its damages claims on two of those patents. Motorola Mobility had sued over one patent.
Apple is based in Cupertino, California, and Google is based in Mountain View, California.
The case is Apple Inc. et al v. Motorola Inc. et al, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 11-08540.