Google has pulled the Samsung Galaxy Nexus from sale in the US version of its Play Store following a legal ban in its patent case with Apple.
The smartphone is still listed on the site but its page now says, "Coming soon" and there is an option to sign up and be notified when the phone is on sale. Apple successfully petitioned the court in California to block the sales of the Galaxy Nexus in the US because it claims the Android device infringes upon some of Apple's search-related patents.
Apple patent number 8,086,604 describes "convenient access to items of information that are related to various descriptors input by a user, by means of a unitary interface which is capable of accessing information in a variety of locations."
The system uses heuristic algorithms to locate and display information, for example exploiting a search engine and listing only the relevant results.
Samsung launched an appeal against the US ban until after the case is fully heard in court but the judge upheld the injunction. Apple has posted a $95.6m (£61m) bond with the San Jose court that will be paid to Samsung if it wins the case, to make up for lost sales.
Google says it is already working on an over-the-air (OTA) software update that will remove the features Apple claim infringe on its patent for universal search. District Court Judge Lucy Koh named patent number 8,086,604 as a valid reason to block sales of the Nexus in her ruling and if Google can demonstrate it has been removed sales could be reinstated.
"Samsung and Google have a software patch that they believe avoids infringing the Apple patent that led to the injunction. That patch is expected to be pushed out imminently, Google said," the All Things D website reported.
Florian Mueller at Fosspatents.com questioned whether a software update would be enough to change the functionality of the Samsung Nexus in the eyes of the court.
"It's definitely possible to build a smartphone that doesn't infringe the '604 patent, but based on the court's claim construction, it's hard to see how a modified version of Android can still provide Siri-like unified search," Mueller wrote.
Android Jelly Bean
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be one of the first smartphones to run Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software, with the Google Nexus S and the Motorola Xoom also scheduled to get the software update in July 2012.
Apple has claimed that Samsung "slavishly copied" the look and design of its products as it seeks to dominate the $219bn global smartphone market.
"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," Apple said in a statement to IBTimes UK. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."
Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet has already been banned in the US by the same court and Samsung previously failed in its attempt to overturn that ban.
Apple is also seeking an injunction to ban the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, which would see it pulled from sales in the US. An insider at Samsung recently confirmed that it is teaming up with Google to fight intellectual property disputes around the world.