Apple’s long-running patent war with Samsung has led to another casualty. A Netherlands judge has issued a Europe-wide preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace phones, which would effectively ban sales of the phones, reports FOSS Patents.
The judge found that Samsung’s phones violated Apple’s European software patent 2,059,868, which has to do with scrolling in mobile photo galleries. The sales ban will take effect on October 13, which gives Samsung time to update its software so that it’s no longer infringing on Apple’s patent.
FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller points out that this particular victory is a major blow to Android: “In all likelihood, the winning patent is infringed by Android itself — probably 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),” he wrote. “Apple now has the first enforceable court decision in its hand (out of many lawsuits going on around the world) that finds Android to infringe an Apple patent.”
Even though the ruling is technically “Europe-wide”, it’s only enforceable in countries where the above patent is valid. Mueller notes that Apple failed to follow through with its patent application in a number of countries, including Italy, Greece, and Spain. Additionally, the ruling only affects three Samsung subsidiaries registered within the Netherlands. That could still cause a headache for Samsung though, since the company uses the Netherlands as its primary hub for European logistics.
The news follows earlier patent wins by Apple, including the halting of Galaxy Tab sales in Australia and Europe (the latter was eventually reversed). Apple’s legal squabbles with Samsung began in April with a U.S. lawsuit over the company’s Galaxy Android smartphones and tablets. Apple argued that Samsung’s devices “slavishly” imitated its iPhone and iPad. Samsung filed a counter-suit against Apple, but Apple escalated the dispute even further by filing a lawsuit in South Korea, Samsung’s home country.