By Emily Bourke and wires  October 14, 2011 abc News au

The Federal Court has slapped a temporary ban on the sale of Samsung’s latest tablet computer in Australia.

The decision to block the sale of the Tab 10.1 hands rival Apple another legal victory in the global patent war between the two firms.

The companies have been locked in an acrimonious battle in nine countries involving smartphone and tablet patents since April, with the Australia dispute centring on touch-screen technology.

“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 ban on sales applies until the court rules on the core patent issue in dispute and threatens to sink the viability of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet in the run-up to Christmas.

It comes ahead of hearings in the United States, South Korea and the Netherlands.

More to come.