A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected Apple Inc's request for a permanent sales ban in the United States against some older Samsung smartphones, a key setback for the iPhone maker in its global patent battle.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, ruled that Apple had not presented enough evidence to show that its patented features were a significant enough driver of consumer demand to warrant an injunction.
Representatives for Samsung could not immediately be reached for comment. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the injunction order.
Apple's request for the permanent injunction stems from the companies' legal fight over various smartphone features patented by Apple, such as the use of fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen as well as design elements such as the phone's flat, black glass screen.
Apple has already won U.S. jury verdicts against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd totaling about $930 million.
Koh had already rejected such a sales ban, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered her to reconsider in November.
Even though Samsung no longer sells the older-model phones targeted by the injunction request, Apple has argued in court documents that such an order is important to prevent Samsung from future copying with new products "not more colorably different" than the defunct models.
Samsung, meanwhile, argued that Apple was trying to target new Samsung phones in order to instill fear and uncertainty among carriers and retailers.
Samsung's phones use the Android operating system, developed by Google Inc.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc vs Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, 11-1846.