August 24, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
A Dutch judge has deemed that Samsung Android devices violate patents held by Apple, and has banned the marketing of three devices in Netherlands as a result. The Samsung Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S, and Galaxy S II will not be permitted to be sold in the Netherlands because of the violations.
A preliminary ruling says that Samsung violates 1 of 3 patents held by Apple, which accused Samsung of stealing itsmethod for scrolling and browsing a photo gallery, a method for sliding to unlock a screen, and a method for recording a “flag” in connection with multiple screen taps. The judge ruled that Samsung copied the style of Apple’s method for displaying images in a gallery, and granted Apple’s request to block its importation into the Netherlands (other EU devices are not affected). The ban goes into effect October 13, 2011.
Today’s ruling is a victory for Apple, which is waging a battle with Samsung in multiple countries. This is the first solid victory, and could be the first domino in Apple’s efforts to assert its intellectual property powers as a means to stop the spread of Samsung Android devices. It could also encourage other Android manufacturers to change their software design in order to avoid similar consequences.
Apple is already involved with patent battles against HTC and Motorola, so this may not be the last time we hear of a ban on products that allegedly violate Apple’s intellectual property. Appeals or settlements could be in the works, but if anyone Dutch has been eyeing a Samsung Galaxy S II, now might be the time to purchase it.
UPDATE: This article originally said that Samsung violated 3 patents, but the judge actually ruled only 1 patent was violated. Thanks to Jeroendaanen for pointing out the error. Samsung says that it can change the software in order to be compliant.
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.
Samsung has a proud history of innovation in the mobile industry. We will continue our plans to introduce new products and technologies that meet and exceed consumer expectations. And we will defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings around the world.
The ruling found no IP infringements by Samsung GALAXY Tab devices. It found that Samsung’s GALAXY S, GALAXY S II, and GALAXY Ace infringed just one of the 10 IP rights which were cited in the lawsuit.