Judge: Samsung does infringe upon Apple’s U.S. patents

A hearing Thursday in California in front of U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh addressed a request from Apple (s aapl) to ban the sale of Samsung products, including the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1, in the U.S. Koh’s comments at the hearing bring both good and bad news for Apple’s position in the case.

First, Koh said Samsung’s Galaxy tablets do infringe on Apple’s patents related to the iPad, according to Reuters. (s tri) It seems like a damning statement, but Koh also said Apple might have trouble establishing the validity of the patents in question. In order for an injunction to be granted, Samsung’s products must infringe on Apple’s patents, and said patents must be found to be valid.

Koh said she would tentatively be denying Apple’s request for an injunction based on claims related to one of Apple’s “utility” patents, but did not state at the hearing what her determination would be regarding three other patents at issue related to tablet “design,” so an injunction could still be on the table.

In a tweet from the proceedings, Reuters’ Dan Levine said that Koh “held both tablets¬†above her head, one in each hand,” and “asked Samsung lawyers to identify which was which.” Levine said it took Samsung’s legal team “a while to do so.” This, and repeated references made by Koh about how “similar” the Apple and Samsung tablets appear could indicate that she feels Apple’s “design” patents have more validity than those related to “utility”.

The preliminary injunction was requested by Apple ahead of a full trial to determine the outcome of a suit made by Apple in April, which accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying its smartphone and tablet designs. In a similar suit in Australia, a judge instituted a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 earlier Thursday.