The Galaxy S3 is going to be available in America from six carriers this summer including the Big Four – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile – but also two regional carriers: U.S. Cellular and C-Spire. At least three of the four nationwide mobile operators planned to launch the phone in the following week, with June 21 being the earliest U.S. Galaxy S3 release date in the region. But an expected obstacle soon appeared: Apple.
The iPhone maker tried to obtain a preliminary injunction against Galaxy S3 sales in the region, arguing that the handset is in violation of some of its patents. The company attempted to include the Galaxy S3 in one of its existing lawsuits against Samsung (the one that includes the Galaxy Nexus), and then hoped to obtain a favorable court order that would prevent carriers from launching the Galaxy S3 sales on June 21.
But U.S. District Lucy Koh, who’s overseeing the U.S. conflict between Apple and Samsung, decided on Monday not to award the court order Apple was keen on obtaining, which means Galaxy S3 sales will go on according to schedule. Judge Koh motivated her decision saying that her calendar would be overloaded by Apple’s latest addition to its U.S. cases against Samsung. Reuters reports:
Koh last week said Apple could ask for a temporary restraining order against the Galaxy S III phone, but that would likely delay the trial over a Galaxy tablet and other smartphones. In her order on Monday, the judge said Apple would have to request a new hearing date if it wanted to stop sales of the Galaxy S III phone. That likely would not take place before the phone's scheduled launch. Apple has not said what its next move will be.
This is the second ruling in a matter of days against Apple in an Android case, after a judge decided to throw out a lawsuit against Motorola a few days ago, after the judge found that “neither side could prove damages”. While Samsung has been practically cleared to launch the Galaxy S3 in the country, that doesn’t clear Apple’s patent infringement allegations, and we could see the handset be included in future Apple cases against Samsung.
The two companies are already embroiled in a complex patent-based legal dispute that spans across four continents, with the two giants suing and counter-suing each other in 10 different countries amounting to well over 30 different cases. Since Apple and Samsung have recently failed to settle their differences out of court, we’re still waiting to see the final rulings in all these lawsuits.