Justice may be sweet, but when it comes to patents, it's not usually swift. In the case of Apple's multiple, far-reaching patent disputes with Samsung, it took them a few weeks to get an injunction on the Galaxy Nexus based on the controversial results of the billion-dollar patent infringement suit. After Samsung took its case to the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals, the higher judiciary power has sided with the Korean manufacturer. The judge in the case accepted their claims that the relatively low sales numbers of the Galaxy Nexus didn't pose a threat to Apple's business, and that sales of the device couldn't be directly connected to the offending patent feature (universal search).


The judge went on to say that the Galaxy Nexus had no feature analogous to Apple's Siri, and that the lower court had "abused its discretion" in granting a wide sales injunction. The original ban was handed down in late June, and Google stopped selling the unlocked version of the phone on the Google Play Store a few days later. It's still not clear which retailers, if any, stopped selling the Verizon and Sprint versions of the phone. On July 6th, a week after the original injunction was put in place, the appeals court put a temporary lift on the ban based on Samsung's evidence and Apple's lack of response. This reversal has now become permanent.

The patent wars aren't going away any time soon - Samsung recently added the iPhone 5 to its latest patent-based suit against Apple - but it seems that sanity has prevailed in at least one case. While there's certainly an argument to be made that Samsung liberally lifted elements from the iPhone for its early Galaxy devices, the Galaxy Nexus bears no resemblance to the iPhone in software or hardware, and Apple's US injunction on the flagship Android device was widely considered unnecessarily punitive. Of course, with one or more new Nexus devices on the horizon, it won't be long until a whole new range of lawsuits is volleyed back and forth across the mobile world.

Reuters via The Verge