Apple, whose shares fell two per cent yesterday, is waging war on several fronts against Google, whose Android software powers many of Samsung’s devices.
In one of the more visible developments of that battle, Apple scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung in August when a US jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05bn (£654m) in damages.
In this case, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was considering an injunction ordered before the trial began but which was quickly stayed.
But the appeals court reversed the injunction entirely yesterday, saying that the “district court abused its discretion”.
Apple failed to prove, the court said, that consumers purchased the Samsung product because of the infringing technology. The court considered a single patent – one which allows the smartphone to search multiple data storage locations at once.
The appeals court has sent the case back to a lower California court for reconsideration.
Apple declined to comment yesterday. Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment.