Today: Appeals win for Apple (AAPL) makes future of battle with Samsung even murkier, as Cupertino company reportedly closes in on acquisition of Israeli company. Also: Salesforce releases earnings and host of announcements on first day of huge S.F. conference.

The Lead: Apple wins appeals ruling that could lead to Samsung sales ban

Apple and Samsung are fighting legal battles dealing with patents worldwide, and are currently embroiled in a U.S. retrial dealing with the penalty for Samsung's patent violations on its earliest smartphones and tablets, with a second trial focusing on more recent gadgets set to follow.

Got all that? Well, we're not done.

On Monday, a federal appeals court decided that an earlier ruling in the San Jose realm of this global war should be reconsidered by the judge, which could lead to an injunction against sales of a host of Samsung devices in the United States. This after President Barack Obama's administration struck down an injunction against certain Apple devices but allowed such a ban against a limited number of Samsung devices.


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Early in the two tech giants' San Jose court battle, Judge Lucy Koh ruled against a permanent U.S. sales ban on Samsung devices found to infringe on Apple's patents, but the Cupertino company asked an appeals court to reconsider that ruling last summer with an argument that legal experts said at the time could have broad ramifications.

"It could fundamentally change the way the patent system works in the (technology) industries," Mark Lemley, a Stanford University law professor, told Mercury News reporter Howard Mintz, adding that an unsuccessful appeal could have prodded the two companies to settle the case because it would be clear that the only thing at stake was money, not market share.

Now, however, the stakes have been raised yet again. If Judge Koh were to change her ruling and ban the infringing products, she could decide to do the same in the later court battle focusing on Samsung's newer products, which currently have the Korean electronics company atop the smartphone market. As with everything else in this case, however, a decision is unlikely to arrive anytime soon: Samsung can still appeal the successful appeal to a higher court.

"We are confident that an injunction will be avoided," Samsung spokesman Adam Yates told Reuters.

Apple's legal victory was announced as testimony in the retrial came to a close Monday, with the two sides pushing their estimates of how much more Samsung owes Apple -- after the original trial led to a verdict of $1.05 billion, Judge Koh struck about $450 million from that award and the current proceedings focus on what figure will take its place.

While Apple's legal team deals with the myriad Samsung court battles, the Cupertino company may be focusing on building up its product line: An Israeli newspaper reported over the weekend that Apple was close to a deal to buy PrimeSense, a gesture-recognition company that helped build Microsoft's Kinect and could help Apple add similar technology to the rumored Apple TV effort. While neither Apple nor PrimeSense would confirm that a deal was in the works, a PrimeSense investor's angry Facebook screed against whoever leaked the information seemed to indicate the report had a factual basis.

Apple's newest products are facing some complaints early in their lifetimes: Users are reportedly finding the lauded fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S to be rather hinky, and screens on the iPad Minis that were released last week have had some issues reported as well.

On Wall Street, Apple declined 1.2 percent to $518.63 Monday, as investor Carl Icahn proclaimed that he is sticking with Apple for the long haul as he agitates for a greater cash return to investors.

SV150 market report: Salesforce gains after earnings, Twitter and Tesla tumble

Wall Street indexes passed historic milestones Monday, but fell back below those round numbers as stocks declined through the rest of the session. Silicon Valley stocks could not avoid the weakness, with Twitter and Tesla suffering investors' wrath, though Salesforce bounced back in late trading following its quarterly earnings report.

Salesforce kicked off its annual San Francisco conference, Dreamforce, on Monday, welcoming more than 100,000 congregants to the city with a host of announcements. Most prominent was the announcement of a revamped mobile offering, which will allow workers to access their enterprise applications more easily when working with the popular cloud platform. Salesforce also announced a new partnership with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), but the company's stock still declined 3.1 percent to $55.51 before its earnings report landed just after the bell, confirming that Salesforce had generated $1 billion in quarterly revenues for the first time and sending shares back above $56.

Tesla Motors (TSLA)' woes continued Monday, as the Palo Alto electric car maker plummeted 10.2 percent to $121.58, its lowest closing price since mid-July. Tesla stock has now declined 37.5 percent from its all-time intraday high of $194.50, reached Sept. 30, while dealing with Model S fires and an industrial accident at its Fremont manufacturing facility. Twitter sank to its lowest closing price since the San Francisco company's public debut earlier this month, falling 6.5 percent to $41.14 after Wunderlich Securities Blake Harper labeled the stock a "Sell," explaining, "The company must better simplify and customize its product to reach new users in the mass market to justify its current growth projections."

Google (GOOG) declined 0.2 percent to $1,031.55 after settling a lawsuit by states stemming from placing unauthorized cookies on computers using Apple's Safari browsers, the same move that led to an earlier settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The Mountain View search giant also announced a new initiative to block links that lead to abusive material involving children, which included a partnership with Microsoft, and began an effort to open temporary stores for the holiday season. Yahoo (YHOO) dropped 1.4 percent after announcing that it would follow Google in encrypting information flowing between its data centers after revelations that the federal government was spying on users' info during those transfers. Nvidia fell 2.4 percent to $15.78 after unveiling a new, faster chip and announcing a partnership with IBM on supercomputers and servers, while fellow Santa Clara chipmaker Intel (INTC) gained 0.3 percent to $24.60 as analysts looked ahead to the company's analyst day this week.

Up: Intel, Symantec, Electronic Arts (ERTS), Oracle

Down: Tesla, Yelp, SolarCity, Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Zynga, LinkedIn, Applied Materials, Salesforce, Workday, Nvidia, Netflix (NFLX), SanDisk, SunPower (SPWRA), Yahoo, Gilead, Adobe (ADBE), Juniper, Apple, Cisco (CSCO), eBay (EBAY), VMware, AMD, HP

The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Down 17.51, or 1.23 percent, to 1,400.18

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 36.9, or 0.93 percent, to 3,949.07

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 14.32, or 0.09 percent, to 15,976.02

And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 6.65, or 0.37 percent, to 1,791.53

Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.