A US federal appeals court has sided with Samsung Electronics Corporation in one aspect of its ongoing patent dispute with Apple.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday overturned a judge's order blocking Samsung from selling its Galaxy Nexus smartphone pending a patent lawsuit by Apple.

It said the district court in California, which had issued the ban in June, had "abused its discretion in entering an injunction".

Apple accuses Samsung of stealing its smartphone and tablet computer technology.

A jury in September agreed with the company and ordered Samsung to pay $1bn.

Samsung has moved to set the judgment aside.

In its Thursday ruling, the appeals court said Apple had failed to show that any of the patent violations it accused Samsung of in regards to the Galaxy would immediately and irreparably hurt its own smartphone sales.

It said Judge Lucy Koh had abused her discretion in granting Apple a preliminary injunction earlier this year.

The decision allowed Samsung to continue selling the Galaxy Nexus.

Samsung welcomed the latest decision saying it "confirms that the role of patent law is to protect innovation and not to unreasonably stifle competition and restrict consumer choice".

"We will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure the availability of our innovative products," the South Korean manufacturer said.

Source: Agencies