Google has withdrawn the Samsung Galaxy Nexus from sale on the Google Play store as it moves to comply with US court orders banning it from sale. US District Court Judge Lucy Koh earlier rejected Samsung’s appeal against the injunction order, leading to the smartphone being pulled. Google currently has the device listed as ‘Coming Soon,’ with potential buyers offered the opportunity to sign up for notifications.
The Galaxy Nexus is perhaps the most prominent casualty in the legal war that has erupted between Apple and Samsung. Although the device was released last November as the flagship reference device for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), it is slated to be the first smartphone to be upgraded to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). With the sales ban in place, the only device that will carry Jelly Bean for the time being be Google’s Asus-made Nexus 7 reference tablet.
Google and Samsung have scrambled to address the apparent IP infringement by hastily putting together a revised build of the OS that includes a patch for the Apple ‘universal search’ patent. Whether it will be enough to satisfy the court and lift the sales ban remains to be seen.
Google and Samsung are also expected to file for a reevaluation of the Apple patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Although it is not known specifically what the companies are expected to put forth as evidence to invalidate Apple's patent, it is typically the case that they will be seeking to establish "prior art," or other technology that may pre-date Apple’s initial patent filing.
The injunction against the Galaxy Nexus was issued ahead of Apple’s formal court case against Samsung for its alleged infringement of Apple’s IP in both software and hardware design.Judge Koh ruled that Apple has "articulated a plausible theory of irreparable harm" from "long-term loss of market share" and "losses of downstream sales." The trial is scheduled to start this month.
Update: Google has updated its store to show that the Galaxy Nexus will return soon, but updated with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The company has not clarified whether its disappearance from the store has anything to do with the current injunction affecting the sale of the device in the US. Whether it believes that its updated software does not violate the offending patent on 'universal search' paving the way for its continued sale is also unclear at this time.