Samsung can sell its latest iPad rival in most of Europe again after a German court lifted most of an injunction it had imposed at Apple's request.
The Duesseldorf regional court said it was questionable whether its authority extended to international companies operating outside Germany, so it restricted a preliminary ban imposed last week on Samsung Electronics to Germany.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab line of tablet computers is considered the most credible alternative to Apple's iPad, which has taken the market by storm, selling about 30 million since its launch a year and a half ago.
Apple and others have moved aggressively to defend their intellectual property in maturing markets, especially against Google's Android software platform, on which the new Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet is built.
Android, a latecomer to the mobile market, has become a target by rapidly turning into the world's most popular smartphone platform. Google is relatively defenseless because it owns few wireless patents, in contrast to older rivals.
On Monday, Google agreed to buy Motorola Mobility, the descendant company of cellular phone pioneer Motorola, for $12.5 billion, largely for its vast patent library.
The Duesseldorf court said its ban still applied to Germany, and also to the German unit of Samsung, Samsung GmbH, throughout the European Union. A hearing in the case was due next week.
Samsung said in a statement: "We look forward to the opportunity to reassert our intellectual property rights at the hearing scheduled on August 25."