A U.S. district judge in Northern California said today that Samsung's line of Galaxy tablets infringe on Apple's patents, while adding that Apple still has to show that those patents are valid under the law.
Reuters, which followed the court hearing, notes that the comments came as part of request by Apple to get an injunction against Samsung's tablets in the U.S., and that a formal order on whether Samsung infringes on an Apple utility patent will be issued "fairly promptly."
Reuters notes that Apple still needs to demonstrate to the court that Samsung infringed on its patents, and that those patents are valid. In the meantime, no injunction was ordered.
"We are awaiting the judge's decision, and Samsung will continue to actively defend its intellectual proprery rights," a Samsung spokesman told CNET.
An Apple spokeswoman reiterated a statement made by the company earlier this year saying "it's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."
The judge's comments come the same day Apple won an interlocutory injunction by the Federal Court of Australia against Samsung and the company's Galaxy Tab 10.1, keeping the product from being sold in the country until the case goes to trial. In that complaint, Apple had argued that the device infringed on two of its patents relating to multi-touch technologies.
The spat is just a part of a larger battle between the two companies in courts around the world. The dispute was kicked off with a U.S. lawsuit filed by Apple against Samsung in April that said Samsung was violating its intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices, specifically the Galaxy series smartphones and tablets. Samsung later countersued against Apple, saying the company was infringing on multiple patents.
Adding to some of the drama, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh who was presiding over the hearing, held both an iPad and a Galaxy tablet over her head then asked Samsung's lawyers to identify the two. Reuters reporter Dan Levine, who was covering the hearing said in a tweet that it "took them a while to do so."
Updated at 5:34 p.m. PT with additional details and comment from both companies.