By Narayanan Somasundaram and Amy Pyett
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian court slapped a temporary ban on the sale of Samsung Electronics' latest computer tablet in the Australian market on Thursday, handing rival Apple another legal victory in the two firms' global patent war.
The two technology firms have been locked in an acrimonious battle in nine countries involving smartphone and tablet patents since April, with the Australian dispute centering on touch-screen technology used in Samsung's new Galaxy tablet.
"I am satisfied that it is appropriate to grant an interim injunction, however I propose again the opportunity of an early final hearing on the issues presented in this application," Justice Annabelle Bennett told the court.
The Federal Court's ban on sales of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet applies until it rules on the core patent issue in dispute, which could take months and force Samsung to miss the Christmas gift-giving season in Australia.
Samsung has said that the product's viability in the Australian market would be killed off if it missed Christmas.
The Australian ruling follows Apple's successfully legal move to block Samsung from selling its tablets in Germany and some smartphone models in the Netherlands. It comes ahead of important hearings in the United States and South Korea.
Samsung has so far been reluctant to agree to an expedited Australian court hearing of the core patent dispute, despite the risk of missing out on Christmas sales, because it said it needs time to prepare a proper defense against Apple's claims.
(Reporting by Amy Pyett and Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Balazs Koranyi)