A U.S. judge said Samsung's Galaxy tablets infringe Apple's iPad patents, but also that Apple might have a problem establishing the validity of its patents.
The comments from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh came on Thursday in a court hearing on Apple's request to bar some Galaxy products from being sold in the United States.
Apple and Samsung are engaged in a bruising legal battle that includes more than 20 cases in 10 countries as the two jostle for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets.
Earlier on Thursday, an Australian court slapped a temporary ban on the sale of Samsung's latest computer tablet in that country.
Apple sued Samsung in the United States in April, saying the South Korean company's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets "slavishly" copies the iPhone and iPad.
Apple then filed a request in July to bar some Samsung products from U.S. sale, including the Galaxy S 4G smartphone and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
Mobile providers Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA have opposed Apple's request, arguing that a ban on Galaxy products would cut into holiday sales.
Apple must show that Samsung infringed its patents and that its patents are valid under the law.
At the hearing on Thursday in a San Jose, California federal court, Koh also said she would deny Apple's request for an injunction based on one of Apple's so-called "utility" patents.
She did not say whether she would grant the injunction based on three other Apple "design" patents.
Koh characterized her thoughts on the utility patent as "tentative" but said she would issue a formal order "fairly promptly.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.
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