A federal judge in California on Thursday denied Apple's request to permanently ban Samsung from selling 23 older-model smartphones and tablets that a jury found infringed on patents held by the maker of iPhones and iPads.
Judge Lucy Koh said Apple Inc. failed to prove that the South Korean company's patent infringement caused irreparable harm to Apple sales.
The ruling came as the world's two biggest smartphone makers prepare to go to court again later this month - this time over Apple's allegations that Samsung's newest devices, such as its Galaxy S III, also copied Apple technology.
The ruling on Thursday stemmed from a 2012 verdict in which a jury agreed with Apple that Samsung had infringed touchscreen features.
However, Koh on Thursday denied Apple's request for a permanent injunction to stop Samsung from selling the products, saying she was not convinced those features drove consumer demand.
Apple has argued in courts, government tribunals and regulatory agencies around the world that Samsung's Android-based phones copy vital iPhone features. Samsung has fought back with its own complaints that some key Apple patents are invalid and that Apple has copied Samsung's technology.
In November, a Silicon Valley jury added $290 million to damages awarded to Apple in connection with the 2012 jury verdict, bringing to $930 million the total amount owed by Samsung.