WOW! This is getting better and better for Apple. FossPatent has reported that Apple has been granted preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones by a Dutch court. This injunction is Europe-wide.
According to Mueller:
Let me clarify “formally Europe-wide” here:
This relates to countries in which one particular European software patent (EP 2059868) is valid. (Formally it’s a “device” patent, but it doesn’t represent any innovation on the hardware side, so the nature of the invention is that of a software patent the way I define that term.) The injunction relates to the current version of those devices but would not cover future releases that may be designed in ways that don’t infringe this particular patent.
The status of that patent varies between different countries as this list shows. While the patent was originally designated to more than 30 member countries of the European Patent Organization (which is not an EU organization and also includes non-EU members such as Switzerland), there are many countries in which the application wasn’t turned into a valid patent because Apple didn’t make the necessary administrative effort and pick up the related costs. Those countries in which Apple didn’t successfully pursue and complete a local registration include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain. Local registrations have apparently succeeded in Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK — as well as the Netherlands, obviously.
In legal terms, the order does not bind Samsung’s Korean parent company — only three different Samsung subsidiaries registered in the Netherlands — with respect to other countries than the Netherlands. However, it is my understanding that Samsung’s European logistics use the Netherlands as the primary hub. If Samsung’s Korean parent company wants to exercise its freedom to ship into other European countries despite this injunction, it will have to reorganize its logistics chain in Europe accordingly.
According to a statement quoted by the BBC, Samsung appears to be determined to modify its software in order to steer clear of the infringement identified by the court. Samsung vows to fight on against Apple and underscores that all of Apple’s infringement allegations except for the one related to this particular patent were defeated. (I did a follow-up post to explain why the judge considered Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent trivial and invalid).