Ina Fried

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Judge Denies Reprieve in Galaxy Nexus Case, Allowing Sales Ban to Take Effect

A federal judge on Tuesday refused to hold off on an injunction that prevents U.S. sales of the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, ruling that Samsung is unlikely to prevail in a patent infringement suit brought by Apple.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to put the ban on hold while Samsung pursues an appeal.

“Although some consumers may be disappointed that they cannot purchase the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Nexus, as Samsung itself has repeatedly insisted, is not Samsung’s only smartphone product on the market,” Koh wrote in the ruling.

In order for the sales ban on the Nexus to go into effect, Apple must post a $95.6 million bond to account for the potential impact should a court later decide the injunction was issued in error.

While the ruling means that the Galaxy Nexus is barred from being sold as is, Google and Samsung have been preparing a workaround software patch that Google says should enable sales of the Nexus to continue.

On Monday, Koh declined to put a separate injunction on hold, that one related to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Although not the biggest-volume Android phone, the Galaxy Nexus is critical strategically for both Samsung and Google, as it was the first device running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android and is also the reference point for developers testing the next version of the operating system, known as Jelly Bean.

Google gave out Galaxy Nexus devices to developers at last week’s I/O conference in San Francisco.

Update: Samsung said in a statement late Tuesday that it is disappointed with the ruling and will continue to pursue its appeal.

“We believe today’s ruling will ultimately reduce the availability of superior products to consumers in the United States,” Samsung said in a statement. “Meanwhile, we are also working closely with Google to resolve this matter, as the patent in question concerns Google’s unified search function.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald