By Dan Levine

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - An Apple Inc lawyer said the iPhone and iPad maker may seek a legal order stopping the launch of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy S III phone in the United States later this month.

At a hearing on Thursday in a San Jose, California federal court, Apple attorney Josh Krevitt said the company could file for a temporary restraining order against Samsung as early as Friday.

"Once sales are made, the harm is irreparable," Krevitt said.

However, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said she has many other cases. If Apple decides to seek a restraining order, it would likely delay a July trial date over different Samsung phones, as well as the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

"I cannot be an Apple v. Samsung judge," Koh said.

Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement last year, accusing the South Korean electronics maker of "slavishly" copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung denies the claims and countersued.

Apple's comments on Thursday came a day after Samsung Electronics, the world's largest smartphone vendor, expanded its CEO's role to include oversight of corporate strategy across the entire Samsung Group - a conglomerate of more than 80 companies.

Choi Gee-sung, 61, spearheaded Samsung's ascension to smartphone and TV leadership and his elevation signals that the storied South Korean conglomerate is grooming its next leader.

Apple filed papers this week seeking to ban Samsung's new Galaxy S III, along with the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung has already booked over 9 million preorders of the Galaxy S III, which is set to be sold by carriers in the United States on June 21, Apple said in its court filing.

Samsung, however, argued that Apple should not be allowed to seek such a fast injunction against the Galaxy S III.

Samsung attorney William Price also said the technology covered by Apple's patents - such as auto-correcting typed text - are not responsible for sales of Galaxy phones.

"There is no advertising or marketing on these features at all" by Apple, Price said.

Samsung's Galaxy products run on the Android operating system, developed by Google. In addition to Samsung's legal team, several Google attorneys attended the hearing before Koh on Thursday.

Apple has also accused Google's Motorola Mobility unit of infringing its iPhone patents. However, a Chicago-based federal judge on Thursday tentatively scrapped a trial between those two that had been scheduled to begin next week.

"Neither party can establish a right to relief," Judge Richard Posner wrote.

In California, Koh did not rule from the bench on Thursday on Apple's request for an injunction on the Nexus.

The Samsung case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc. vs. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al., 12-cv-630.

(Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)

Also on HuffPost:

Check out the gallery to browse some of our favorite features from the Galaxy S3.
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  • 4.8-Inch Super AMOLED Display

    The screen is huge, up from 4.3 inches on the Galaxy S II. A 4.8 inch screen makes it one of the largest displays on a flagship phone there is. Compare with HTC's One X (4.7 inches), the Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx (4.3 inches), and Apple's iPhone 4S (3.5 inches). The resolution is 1280x720.

  • S Voice

    Samsung introduces 'S Voice' on the Galaxy S III. To wake the phone up and activate the voice sensor, you simply say "Hi Galaxy!" and the phone wakes up; no need to push a button. Other voice commands, in addition to the stock ones in the Google Voice Actions catalogue: Using your voice, you can launch the camera and take a photo, turn the volume up and down, snooze the alarm (say "Snooze" as your alarm is going off -- dangerous!), and send texts and emails.

  • Motion Detection

    If you're writing a text to someone, and then you raise the phone to your ear, the GS3 launches the telephone app and automatically calls the person you were texting.

  • S Beam

    The Galaxy S III comes with an NFC chip that allows you to "bump" information like photos or video to other Galaxy S III owners by touching phones together, using a combination of the NFC technology and Wi-Fi Direct. With All-Share Cast, you can beam your screen to any DLNA-compatible television; All-Share Cast also allows you to share your screen onto anyone else's smartphone for document collaboration.

  • Pop Up Play

    "Pop up play" will allow you to play a video anywhere on the screen while also performing other tasks, like checking your email or responding to texts. You can make the video window as large or small as you want. Here, you can see a YouTube video playing toward the bottom of the screen while a demonstrator prepares to search Google.

  • Burst Shot

    The Galaxy S III's 8 megapixel camera comes with burst photography: Holding down the shutter will take twenty photos in a row; you can then choose the best photo and the phone will automatically erase the other 19. A similar function exists on the HTC One line of phones. An alternate function: The Burst camera can take 8 photos in a row and then automatically choose the best one, if you're too indecisive to choose on your own.

  • Buddy Photo Share

    The photography software comes with smart facial recognition: When you take a picture of a friend, it can recognize their face and will prompt you to send that photo to that person's phone or email address.

  • Smart Stay

    Essentially an eye recognition technology, the GS3 can sense when you are and are not looking it: When you are looking at your screen, the display will stay illuminated; when you stop looking at your phone, the display goes dark to save power. The feature can be toggled on and off, if you prefer to just let your screen time out.

  • This Commercial

    Here's the first commercial for the Galaxy S III. At least, we think it's advertising the Galaxy S III. It might also be advertising a soap opera or Zach Braff film of some kind.