Samsung has agreed to halt sales of the U.S version of its Galaxy Tab 10.1, see below for more details.

Apple has stepped up its bid to protect its design patents and innovation on its iPad and iPhone devices after escalating its dispute against Samsung to request a sales ban on sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has asked an Australian court to block sales of the tablet in the country, accusing Samsung of infringing ten of its patents, including the “look and feel” and the touchscreen technology use in its iPad, said Apple lawyer Steven Burley.

Burley also stated that the company would look to stop Samsung selling its tablet in other countries, although it is not known where.

Apple’s legal action against the Korean smartphone vendor began in April, with the Cupertino-based company stating that Samsung willfully violated patents, committed trademark infringement and exercised unfair competition with its smartphone and tablet devices.

It stated at the time:

It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.

Apple believes the injunction is necessary because has had “announcements of an imminent launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 device ongoing since July 20”. Because the tablet differs slightly from that on sale in the US, Samsung’s lawyer has said the company will provide Apple with the Australian version of the tablet so it can determine whether it will pursue legal action to ban sale of the device.

Samsung lawyer Neil Murray has indicated that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will go on sale in Australia in “at least a couple of weeks,” suggesting the company may be able to clear the issue with Apple before the device launches.

Update: Samsung has agreed to place its tablet sales on hold in Australia until it wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved. The decision was made in a break between briefings:

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, agreed to stop advertising the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia and not to sell the device until it wins court approval or the lawsuit is resolved, according to an accord reached by lawyers during a break in the hearing. Should Apple lose its patent infringement lawsuit, it agreed to pay Samsung damages, which weren’t specified.

Samsung also agreed to provide Apple three samples of the Australian version of the computer tablet at least seven days before it planned to start distributing it so the U.S. company could review it, according to the agreement submitted in court.

Bennett scheduled a hearing for Aug. 29 to review the status of the case and set a trial date if necessary.