Apple lands preliminary ban against Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the US (update: search patent the key)

It hasn't been Samsung's best week. Just days after Judge Lucy Koh granted a preliminary ban on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, she's following it up with a similar granted request on the Galaxy Nexus. Judge Koh had already signaled that she thought Apple's lawsuit over four patents might have merit, but it's only now that she's deciding the potential damage is worth halting sales of the phone until there's a final trial verdict. Samsung will no doubt try to appeal the dispute, which centers on Android 4.0's slide-to-unlock mechanism (among other elements), but there's a lot more urgency here than with the outgoing Tab 10.1: the Galaxy Nexus is still a current-generation device, and just became Google's Android 4.1 phone flagship. Samsung's odds aren't great given that Apple has already used one of the patents to give HTC grief with its imports.

Update: As patent lawsuit guru Florian Mueller found, the clincher for the ban was the patent on unified search that's linked to Siri. Although Judge Koh is inclined to believe Apple's view regarding all four patents, that search patent is the one whose violation would reportedly merit more than a slap on the wrist. She's similarly convinced that Apple's patents are legitimate and likely won't be dismissed anytime soon.