Despite accusations that it may have altered photos of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones in order to strengthen its case, Apple has succeeded in getting a Dutch court to ban the sale of three phones are "too similar" to the iPhone. The ban begins October 15.
Missing from the ban, however, are the Galaxy Tab tablets, which were included in the original suit filed this month. Apple successfully managed to get the Tab banned in Germany, despite evidence that it may have doctored photos in that case, as well.
A Dutch court found Samsung to be infringing on an Apple patent on technologies related to a “Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management.” This patent covers the various aspects of a photo gallery user interface and the use of touchscreen gestures for navigation through it. Samsung’s Galaxy S, SII, and Ace smartphones have thus been banned from sale.
The ban takes effect October 15 and the phones will be barred in Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the Netherlands. The ruling will not be enforceable in other EU member-states because Apple failed to pay the administrative costs necessary in order to make the patent valid, tech patent blog FOSS Patents reports.
Despite Apple’s failure to keep its paperwork in order, the ban could have disruptive effects on Samsung sales across Europe. This is due to the fact that a good portion of Samsung’s distribution system for the region runs through the Netherlands: in order to sell these devices, the company will now need to ship them into various countries directly.
Samsung is obviously not pleased with the ruling, and has vowed to take “all possible measures including legal action” to ensure there will be no disruption in sales of its devices.
That said, Samsung still has options: the injunction found that Android 2.3 infringed on the patent but Android 3.0 and above did not. All the Korean electronics maker needs to do is update the banned phones and the injunction will be un-enforceable, something Judge E.F. Brinkman noted in his ruling.