Dutch Judge Bans Samsung Phones, Saves Tablets

The verdict has come on Apple's filing against Samsung to ban all Galaxy products across Europe, and the results are a mixed bag.

A judge in The Hague handed down the ruling yesterday, awarding Apple a preliminary injunction barring Samsung from importing, distributing, or selling its Galaxy S, Galaxy SII, and Ace smartphones in the EU. The verdict was awarded based on Apple's claims that Samsung's Android-based Galaxy smartphones infringed on a patent for a "Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management." Samsung has to stop sales of the device by October 13.

Surprisingly, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy Tab 10.1v tablets are unaffected. The judge rejected Apple's claims that the devices infringe on copyright and design registrations and that they also infringe on patents for interpreting certain multitouch events and swiping along a graphic to unlock a phone.

Overall, the decision isn't exactly what Apple was aiming for when it filed the suit. Further complicating the somewhat specious win, the company forgot or ignored local registration requirements for the patent that the ban hinges on, so the ban may not be enforceable in much of Europe, including: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain. The patent is however enforceable in the Netherlands, where Samsung's European logistics are based, meaning that Samsung will have to rearrange its European logistics in order to get devices to the countries where the ban doesn't apply.

The case is still far from over, and Samsung has vowed to fight the ruling and find workarounds to the injunction. The injunction goes into effect at the same time that the companies will begin oral arguments on a preliminary injunction against Samsung in the U.S., with Apple likely to have a much harder time pulling off an injunction here. However the cases work out, they are sure to leave a lasting impression on the world of technology.