A US court has banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the country while it decides on the firm’s patent dispute with Apple.
Apple has claimed that Samsung infringed its design patent and copied the look of its popular device, the iPad.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is considered by most analysts as the biggest rival to Apple’s iPad.
The trial for the case is scheduled to begin in California on 30 July.
“Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,” said US District Judge Lucy Koh.
Samsung said in a statement that it “will take necessary legal steps” and that the ruling was unlikely to have a significant impact on its business.
Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest manufacturers of tablet PCs and smartphones.
The two rivals are involved in a variety of legal cases in various countries across the globe amid claims and counter claims of patent infringement.
While Apple had accused Samsung of copying its design and look, the South Korean firm has alleged that Apple infringed its patents relating to the way phones and tablet PCs connect to the internet.
However, this is the first time that either of the firms has been able to win an injunction banning sales of the rival’s product.
Analysts said the order passed by the judge was a significant development in the continuing legal battle between the two companies.
“The relief being given to Apple here is extraordinary,” said Colleen Chien, a professor at Santa Clara Law in Silicon Valley.
“Preliminary injunctions are rarely asked for and rarely granted.”