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Apple may seek U.S. ban of Samsung Galaxy S III today

An attorney for Apple says the company could request a temporary restraining order today to try to keep the Galaxy S III from reaching the U.S. later this month.

Samsung Galaxy S III
The Galaxy S III and some of its apps.
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Apple is trying to ban Samsung's Galaxy S III even before it reaches U.S. shores.

Apple attorney Josh Krevitt said at a hearing yesterday that the company may file for a temporary restraining order as soon as today to stifle the Galaxy S III's U.S. debut on June 21, Reuters reported.

Citing the usual ongoing patent infringements, Apple believes Samsung's new phone and a host of other Android devices are in violation of patents related to iOS devices. Apple sued the Korean handset maker last year, saying that it copied key elements of the iPhone and iPad in its own Galaxy phones and tablets.

In a court filing (PDF) issued on Tuesday, Apple alleged that the Galaxy S III specifically violates two of its patents, both software-related. The two patents are U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604, which covers "unified search" and No. 5,946,647, which covers "links for structures."

"Because the Galaxy S III contains two of the exact infringing features already at issue with respect to the Galaxy Nexus, the S III is not more than colorably different from the Galaxy Nexus," Apple wrote in its filing.

Krevitt said that the temporary order banning Galaxy S III sales in the U.S. will generate "a mechanism to allow the court to decide this issue before the launch," according to Electronista.

Samsung is naturally putting up a fight, saying that Apple shouldn't be able to request such a quick emergency ban against the Galaxy S III.

William Price, Samsung's attorney, argued yesterday that the technology cited in Apple's patents has nothing to do with sales of Galaxy phones. The attorney added that Apple is just trying to "prevent a phone from getting to the public that is better than Apple's in many, many respects," according to the Electronista account.

"Samsung believes Apple's request is without merit. We will vigorously oppose the request and demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive," a Samsung spokesperson said in an statement sent to CNET earlier this week.

The decision to grant the temporary restraining order will be in the hands of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who is already set to preside over the trial between Apple and Samsung next month. Koh, who has other cases on her docket as well, said that evaluating a restraining order request would probably delay the July trial date.

"I cannot be an Apple v. Samsung judge," Koh said, according to Reuters.

The request for a restraining order against the Galaxy S III is just the latest salvo in the battle between Apple and its Android rivals. The iPhone maker is also fighting HTC and Motorola over claims of patent infringement.

Last month Apple was able to convince the U.S. International Trade Commission to order a U.S. import ban of HTC's One X and Evo 4G LTE phones. HTC quickly got the ban overturned after efforts to work around the Apple patent in question. But Apple is still on the warpath, claiming that the phones continue to violate the same patent.

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