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Samsung says French court rejects bid to halt iPhone 4S sales

SEOUL (Reuters) - A French court rejected a request by Samsung Electronics Co to impose a preliminary sales ban on Apple's latest iPhone, Samsung said on Friday, as the two firms are locked in a bruising global patent war.

The two firms have been embroiled in some 30 legal cases in 10 countries since April as they jostle for the top spot in the booming smartphone and tablet market, with mixed results.

A U.S. court rejected Apple's bid last week to block Samsung from selling its Galaxy smartphones and tablets in the U.S. market, depriving the iPhone and iPad maker of crucial leverage.

In Australia, a preliminary sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 was lifted on Friday, while sales of the iPhone 4S were allowed to continue after a court agreed to hear a patent infringement case brought by Samsung in March.

Samsung said it would review the written grounds of the French ruling and continue to exercise all available options to assert its intellectual property rights.

Apple first sued Samsung in the United States in April, saying the firm's smartphones and tablets slavishly copied its iPhone and iPad.

Samsung shot back, suing Apple for infringing on its telecommunications technology, and later expanded its suit to include Apple's iPhone 4S, released in October.

The South Korean firm filed preliminary injunction motions against the iPhone 4S in Japan, France, Italy and Australia in October.

Shares in Samsung fell 1.0 percent by 0020 GMT versus a 1.6 percent drop in the wider market.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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