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Samsung disappointed by  US ban on Galaxy Tab
Samsung disappointed by US ban on Galaxy Tab

A US judge has ordered Samsung to stop selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet pending the outcome of a claim that the device is a copy of the Apple iPad.

US District Judge Lucy Koh said in an order on Tuesday that “Apple has established a strong” case that its iPad had been copied.

Judge Koh had said at a previous hearing in December that the two products were “virtually indistinguishable”, but she declined to take the dramatic step of prohibiting Galaxy sales.

She changed her mind after a federal appeal court told her to take another look at Apple’s request for an injunction.

“Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,” Judge Koh wrote in her order. She said Apple would be “irreparably harmed” if sales of the Galaxy 10.1 continued.

Judge Koh ordered Apple to post a $US2.6 million ($A2.59 million) bond in case it ultimately lost the case.

The case is part of a major patent battle between the two tech giants, who are scheduled to go to trial next month in San Jose.

Apple filed its lawsuit last year. The two companies are enmeshed in patent disputes around the globe about smartphones and handheld computers.

Apple has also accused the South Korean company of infringing patents related to the iPhone. Apple is seeking a similar injunction barring Samsung from selling one of its smartphones in the US.

Samsung said it is disappointed that the court ruled that its tablet infringes patented Apple technology.

The latest court order is the second decision that rules Samsung's Galaxy tablet copied the iPad's design. In 2011, a German court issued an injunction against the Galaxy tablet upon Apple's request.