SAN JOSE -- With a federal jury ready to decide a fight over hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in Apple's patent feud with Samsung, a federal appeals court Monday handed the iPhone and iPad power a separate but key legal boost in the global smartphone war with its South Korean tech rival.

In a long-anticipated ruling, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals revived Apple's bid to secure a U.S. sales ban on dozens of Samsung smartphones and tablets that a jury last year found violated Apple's patent rights. The Washington, D.C.-based appeals court did not rule conclusively on Apple's demand for a permanent injunction on those Samsung devices, but it set an easier standard for Apple to prevail down the road, dealing a blow to Samsung's attempt to keep selling products even if they trample on iPhone and iPad patents.

Harold McIlhenny, center, an attorney representing Apple Computer in the Apple-Samsung trial, exits a federal courthouse Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, in San
Harold McIlhenny, center, an attorney representing Apple Computer in the Apple-Samsung trial, exits a federal courthouse Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, in San Jose. (Ben Margot/AP Photo)

Meanwhile in San Jose, a federal jury Tuesday is expected to begin deliberating in the latest chapter in the Apple v. Samsung showdown. The jury will decide whether to side with Apple in its quest to score hundreds of millions of dollars more from Samsung on 13 Samsung products that a different jury found last year violated Apple's patent and trademark rights.

That jury originally awarded more than $1 billion in damages, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh slashed the judgment by about $450 million because the jury improperly calculated damages on some of the Samsung devices. Apple is arguing in the retrial that it is entitled to restore about $380 million in damages and royalties; Samsung pegs the figure at no more than $52 million.


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Koh last week made it somewhat tougher for Apple to recover all of its damages request, barring Apple from asking the jury for lost profits on four of the patents involved in the retrial. But patent law experts say the jury still has plenty of leeway to calculate a damage award on either end of the spectrum.

The lawyers will give closing arguments Tuesday morning, sending the case to the eight-member jury.

The federal appeals court ruling is related to the same legal battle, raising the question of whether Apple is entitled to block sales of the Samsung smartphones and tablets accused of copying iPhone and iPad technology. While those devices are older lines of products, the issue is considered key to the patent conflict, potentially giving Apple more clout if winning such cases results in a ban on its chief competitor's products.

In its ruling, the Federal Circuit found that Koh, in denying the sales ban after last year's trial, used too strict a standard. The court, which hears all patent appeals, sent the case back to her to evaluate whether the patents at issue clearly connect to sales of those products and, if so, gave her more room to slap an injunction on Samsung.

Legal experts say it may be a while before the sales ban is resolved, but it could give Apple more ammunition in any settlement talks with Samsung. Florian Mueller, a patent expert who runs the FOSS Patents blog, called the appeals court's standard "favorable to Apple."

Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.