Dutch Court Orders Preliminary Injunction Against Samsung Galaxy Smartphones

Florian Mueller:

The Rechtbank’s-Gravenhage (a Dutch court in the city of The Hague) today issued a formally Europe-wide preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones — but not the Galaxy tablets — at Apple’s request. The decision follows a hearing held on August 10 and 11, 2011.

So what did Samsung infringe? European patent EP 2059868 titled “Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management”. Mueller:

[…] 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). […]

In the meantime Samsung will need to focus on two things. One to modify its software, if possible, so that it doesn’t infringe the aforementioned Apple patent. Most likely Google will need to modify its software apps related to photos that come preinstalled with Android smartphones.

Second, it needs to focus on selling to these countries where EP 2059868 has not been turned into a valid patent by Apple: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain.

I’m sure some enterprising individuals or even companies will make a tidy profit import/exporting the banned Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Ace smartphones. The injunction will take effect in mid-October.

Samsung considers this a victory, via BBC:

Today’s ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive.

With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, 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.

This ruling is not expected to affect sales in other European markets.

Two things. I think Samsung came away from the lawsuit with less battle scares than original expected. It seems Apple is on its way of losing, in the Dutch court system at least, the claim that Samsung blatantly copied the overall look and feel of the iPhone.

Second, maybe there was a translation error on the part of Samsung, but the preliminary injunction does apply to several European countries: Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. Also banned in Germany is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.