The Federal Court of Australia has unanimously overturned an interlocutory injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, with Apple ordered to pay costs of the appeal.
But Justice Lindsay Foster, who handed down the judgment today on behalf of the Full Bench, granted Apple an extension on the judgment until 4pm Friday this week, by which time the iPad maker intends to apply for leave to appeal before the High Court.
The Full Bench ordered the initial injunction against the sale of the tablet to be "immediately discharged".
The successful appeal will allow Samsung to launch the Australian version of the tablet within seven days.
However, the stay granted by Justice Foster will prevent Samsung from officially launching the product before the High Court considers Apple's leave to appeal.
"Samsung Electronics Australia is pleased with today’s unanimous decision by the Federal Court to lift the preliminary injunction on sales of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1," the company said in a statement. "We believe the ruling clearly affirms that Apple’s legal claims lack merit. "
Samsung is still likely to launch the device despite earlier claims that injunctions past mid-October would significantly reduce the tablet's commercial life.
As part of the judgment, Samsung will be required to take account of each Galaxy Tab 10.1 imported, kept, and sold, as well of associated material including applications sold by Samsung until further notice, in order to keep a track of potential damages owed to Apple before a final hearing.
An Apple spokeswoman refused to comment on the case.
Apple's lead barrister Stephen Burley SC sought to make a stay of orders until Monday, allowing Apple to speak with US headquarters and formulate an appeal to the High Court.
"As I understand it the High Court has no fixed procedure to deal with an urgent application such as this," Burley said. "By Friday we'd be in a position to make that application."
Samsung lead barrister Peter Chalk opposed the short stay of orders, claiming it would "simply prolong the injustice that has already been held against Samsung".
"Any stay no matter, how short, given the pendency of the Christmas trading period would continue to cause substantial injustice and hardship to Samsung," he said.
Justice Foster agreed to the extension until Friday, providing Apple some hope that the injunction could continue against the Galaxy tablet.
"Mr Burley I think you should understand what's open for your clients to come back to us on that stay," Justice Foster said.
"If you wish to extend that stay you'll have to do that in the High Court."
Update: Apple has won a victory at the High Court, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab ban extended until at least December 9. In other words, you might need to start looking elsewhere for that tablet-based Christmas gift...