Banned Galaxy S II and Ace countries include UK, Germany, France and Netherlands. The Hague.. the home of justice, where mass murders, war criminals and dictators are all tried. But today the city was the setting of the latest round of Apple versus Samsung patents war over smartphones and tabs.
But Samsung definitely wasn’t laughing today, with a judge in the court in Rechtbank’s-Gravenhage issued a formally Europe-wide preliminary injunction against Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones.
But all is not lost, as the patent in question, EP 2059868 which relates to camera technology (portable electronic device for photo management), is not subject to a blanket ban in all EU states, as previously Apple refused to fork out for the related costs involved in registering the patent.
The 11 countries where the sale of the three smartphones are banned include: Netherlands, UK, Germany and France.
“The court ruled that Samsung’s Netherlands-based subsidiaries may not sell the cited products in the Netherlands, the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Sweden, Switzerland until the cited single infringement is addressed,” Samsung confirmed today.
“The ruling found no IP infringements by Samsung Galaxy Tab devices and infringed one of the 10 IP rights which were cited by Apple in the lawsuit”.
The countries where the patent ban is not in place include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain.
In other words still a good chunk of Europe.
The ruling provides a grace period until October 14 for the Galaxy S II maker address the single infringement cited.
But according to Foss Patents, Florian Mueller, Samsung may “exercise its freedom to ship into other European countries despite this injunction” since it’s parent company is not registered in the Netherlands.
However, it will have to reorganize its logistics chain as it uses the country as a distribution centre for the European region.
And time is on Samsung’s side if it wishes to take such dramatic action – the ban won’t kick in for seven weeks and applies to smartphones but not Galaxy Tabs.
But Samsung has come out fighting, saying ” we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers.”
“Today’s ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive.”
“We will continue our plans to introduce new products and technologies…and we will defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings around the world.”
The ruling is not expected to affect sales in its other European markets.
However, Mueller believes this latest decision spells major trouble for Android and will have implications for the platform, which other brands like HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG also run.
“Regardless of how Samsung may be able to work around this decision in Europe, it’s a setback for Android, a platform that is at issue in more than 50 lawsuits worldwide.”
“In all likelihood, the winning patent is infringed by Android itself — not the operating system per se, but by one or more of the applications that ship with Android and without which the usefulness of Android would be impaired in one particular area (photo viewing).
“Apple has now obtained the first enforceable court decision that finds Android to infringe an Apple patent — and there will definitely be many more to come.”