Apple succeeds in fast-tracking California lawsuit against Samsung

Apple (s aapl) has won another victory in the legal battle with Samsung around smartphones and tablets, which spans 12 courts in nine countries. This one comes in California regarding a request for an expedited trial, shortly after another ruling went its way yesterday in a German court.

The Northern District of California court granted Apple’s request for an expedited trial on Thursday, FOSS Patents reports, although it didn’t quite give the company everything it was looking for. Apple had asked that the trial, which will issue a decision based on Apple’s original complaints of infringement related to mobile patents it holds as well as counterclaims made by Samsung, take place in February 2012.

Samsung objected to any sort of expedited timeline, arguing that there are 43 distinct claims to be addressed at the trial and that such complexity required more time. The median time for a similar case to come to trial in the district is 23 months, which would make for a March 2013 start date.

While the court didn’t agree to the proposed February date, it did set one much earlier than what Samsung called for. The trial will take place on July 30, 2012, just 15 and a half months after Apple’s original filing. FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller believes this will work out in Apple’s favor, since the schedule is ambitious and Samsung is on the defensive and will therefore have less time to organize its case.

Samsung also won a smaller victory in that some of Apple’s legal team withdrew in the face of a motion from Samsung to disqualify them, because they had previously worked for the South Korean company on cases in the same general ballpark, which might give them an unfair advantage. Mueller thinks this victory is relatively minor, considering the wealth of talent available to Apple in terms of high-quality intellectual property lawyers.

Apple isn’t running away with the game when it comes to its legal struggle with Samsung, but it is chalking up small victories that could lead to larger ones down the road. When the trial proper gets under way next summer, I expect we’ll start to see some real sparks fly, since the stakes should be even higher by then.