Samsung Hit with EU-wide Galaxy Smartphone Injunction

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A Dutch court ruled in favor of Apple on Wednesday and issued a preliminary injunction that blocks Samsung from selling its Galaxy smartphones in the European Union. The ruling is yet another blow for Samsung in its ongoing patent infringement battle with the iPhone and iPad maker.

According to Foss Patents, the injunction applies to countries in Europe where patent EP 2059868 is considered valid. The injunction doesn’t, however, include Samsung’s Galaxy-branded tablet products, only the company’s smartphones.

Samsung hit with Galaxy injunction in the EUEU: No Galaxy S, Galaxy S II or Ace smartphone for you

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a legal battle over mobile device patent infringement claims in multiple countries for several months. Both sides have alleged that the other’s mobile devices use patented technologies without proper licensing. Both have filed lawsuits in the U.S. and other countries.

A German court recently imposed an injunction blocking Samsung from selling its Galaxy smartphones and Galaxy tablets in the country, and Samsung has agreed to keep its tablets off store shelves in Australia during local court proceedings.

Today’s court ruling in The Netherlands doesn’t completely block Samsung from selling its Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones in the EU.

“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,” Florian Mueller of Foss Patents said. “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.”

The ruling isn’t, however, good news for Samsung. Since the court ruled in favor of Apple, is seems likely it found the company’s arguments compelling enough to at least temporarily block Samsung from selling what Apple sees as iPhone and iPad copy cat products.

Neither company has commented yet on the Dutch ruling.

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28 Comments Leave Your Own

John Dingler, artist

Hi Jeff,
I bet there’s also a story on the impact of Apple’s alleged failure to not properly file patent papers and not paying the required fees to actualize the filed patents in Europe. I wonder if that’s one of the major reasons as to why the previous top Apple patent litigator, Charles Charnas (and perhaps also Daniel Cooperman) left Apple approx. in early 2010.

MOSiX Man

The injunction doesn?t, however, include Samsung?s Galaxy-branded tablet products, only the company?s smartphones.

Considering how few Android tablets sell, compared to the number of Android phones sold, I think that whether or not the Galaxy Tab is blocked is fairly insignificant to the impact this injunction will have on Samsung.

daemon

http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/24/netherlands-judge-rules-that-samsung-galaxy-s-s-ii-violate-appl/

The Dutch also ruled that Apple’s patent, 1,964,922, was null and void and that Samsung did not infringe upon Apple’s patent, 2,098,948.

The interesting thing is that the one patent Samsung was declared as having violated, 2,058,868, has to do with Apple’s unique way of handling scrolling past the limit of a page, where it pulls back like a rubber band, then jumps back to place. Apparently all Samsung needs to do is remove that scrolling behavior then they’ll free to sell the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace in the Netherlands.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

(comment removed because daemon beat me to it with a better explanation angle. good job!)

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The interesting thing is that the one patent Samsung was declared as having violated, 2,058,868, has to do with Apple?s unique way of handling scrolling past the limit of a page, where it pulls back like a rubber band, then jumps back to place. Apparently all Samsung needs to do is remove that scrolling behavior then they?ll free to sell the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace in the Netherlands.

daemon nailed it. The bounce effect is actually a Touchwhiz thing and not a stock Android thing. See this developer discussion. On a stock Gingerbread phone, when you fling a list to the bottom, it stops without bouncing, but flashes a melon-colored line at the bottom.

Start your timers and see how long it takes FOSS Patents clown to get to the bottom of this.

MOSiX Man

@daemon: It’s little items like that which show just how much Android tries to copy iOS. It can’t be argued that scrolling is an original Apple concept, but that little bounce-back was introduced by Apple (as far as I know). It is that kind of detail that is definitely not just part of the inevitable evolution of an computer interface, which is the typically defense against Apple’s claims of patent infringement.

Ross Edwards

Apple won on ?method of scrolling?, but for Gingerbread, not Honeycomb. That?s interesting and the timing of the ban is interesting in that Ice Cream Sandwich should be out within weeks

How patent law works—let me show you it.  The ruling that Apple’s patent on the rubberband scroll was infringed makes it effectively an auto-win in future suits based on a congruent set of limitations.  Google/Samsung won’t be able to put rubberband scroll into any future Android, no matter what dessert they name it after, without it being legally DOA and infringing ab initio.  If you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize how obvious this is—otherwise, companies could defeat any and all patent infringement claims by discontinuing the alleged infringing product and releasing a new model with a new name and the same functionality.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Let’s get one fact clear here. Rubber band bounce scrolling is not in stock Android. It is in Touchwhiz (Sammie’s UI overlay) and in some other UI overlays like HTC Sense. This is not a verdict against Google by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s a pretty clear victory for Google on the patents litigated: One patent voided. One does not infringe. And the one Apple won on is not applicable to stock Android.

Ross, you quoted my original post, which was irrelevant. Not your fault. Stock Gingerbread and Honeycomb do not have the bouncy scroll. Sammie originally shipped the Galaxy Tab 10.1 without Touchwhiz, and only recently rolled out an update with the UI overlay. The judge may not have considered the update.

If you guys want to claim a moral victory out of this, it might be on the “fragmentation” front. This ruling provides a strong disincentive for handset makers to muck with Android and its UI beyond supplying widgets and apps.

daemon

I’m too late this time….

MOSiX Man

@Bosco: I stand corrected re: rubber band scrolling. You are right. The obvious infringement is from Samsung’s (and others’) UI customizations for Android, and not the plain-vanilla version of Android. My original point still stands, though - this is definitely an infringement of an original UI concept introduced by Apple.

daemon

@MOSiX Man: I think the more relevant take away is that Apple’s patent on Slide to Unlock was declared invalid, and that Samsung does not infringe upon one of Apple’s multi-touch patents.

MOSiX Man

@daemon: Granted, the court decided that Samsung’s TouchWiz does not infringe on one of Apple’s patents, and that is a loss for Apple. But I’m not sure that fact is any more (or less) relevant than the fact that the court did side with Apple, in regards to another patent.

As was previously stated, all Samsung needs to do to get around this problem is to modify TouchWiz so that it no longer has the bounce back UI feature, which I’m sure they will do in an update - if it’s feasible for them to do so. For now, though, Samsung definitely is infringing on some of Apple’s IP, which the big players in the Android market (and their more vocal proponents) have oft claimed isn’t true.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

It?s little items like that which show just how much Android tries to copy iOS.

OK, aside from the fact (which you recognize) that Google didn’t copy this,  Sammie did… Have you ever developed a commercial product, even not software? A lot of the process is always going to be blatant “copying” of public facing specs just to attain some level of feature parity. Design a sports car, it will have a rear spoiler. Not for any real functional purpose at less than insane highway speeds, but it will have one. Sammie engineers may have noticed that iPhone’s lists bounced, and they may have thought that was a cool effect. That realization doesn’t do all the math and coordination needed to make it work well. Even in “copying”, that’s a hell of a lot of work with a lot of small innovation along the way.

In the scheme of things, all this bouncy list patent does is get a couple drips of Apple’s urine on Samsung’s shoes. It hasn’t actually protected any real innovation that anyone really gives a damn about. “Bouncy scroll lists” will not be the deciding feature for anyone between an iPhone and a Galaxy S. It was petty for Apple to bring this particular suit. The result is even more petty. On the grand scale of pettiness, it’s like when Carl Sagan sued Apple for code-naming one of its early 90’s Mac projects “Sagan”, so the codename was changed to “BHA” (Butt Hole Astronomer). This Samsung kerfuffle is that petty.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Update: translated (by Google) here, one of Sammie’s lawyers says it’s the Gallery app that infringes the scroll patent. Not sure if Sammie has modified that app with Touchwiz. I sure don’t see any rubber band bouncing on my N1 in that app. There is a 3d roll bounce if you actively scroll too far.

I’m gonna go with the lawyer doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about for now. Occam’s Razor.

daemon

On my Samsung Vibrant in gallery, when scrolling horizontally through picture albums when I try to scroll beyond the limit of the list the list angles back ward into the display (3D effect on 2D screen). This only happens horizontally, vertical scrolling does not have this effect.

Strictly speaking, it is not the same effect as the rubber band scrolling effect in iOS.

The Bozo

Apple vs. Samsung - read this And you’ll see why 2011 wont be like ?1984?!

the Bozo.

Nemo

A word about the Dutch could invalidating one of Apple’s patent and finding that Samsung’s devices did not infringe another of Apple’s patents.  First, those judgments are appealable, if Apple choose to appeal. 

Second, U.S. courts use very different bodies of substantive law and precedent when determining the validity and scope of patents, particularly software patents, so the decisions of EU courts have no value as controlling precedent and very little value as persuasive precedent regarding validity and enforceability of Apple’s multi-touch patents in the courts of the United States. 

Finally, Apple has many multi-touch patents left to use against Samsung and other Android OEMs in many jurisdictions.  In fact, the USPTO just granted Apple another multi-touch patent yesterday.

RonMacGuy

“Bad News” Bosco strikes again!!

MOSiX Man

@Bosco: This particular legal overture may well be irrelevant in the larger scheme of things, but it does show a precedent that Samsung willfully infringed on a unique design patent, albeit a minor one. If they were willing to infringe on one patented aspect of iOS, then it is within reason that they would be willing to infringe on other elements, as well.

Regarding your example of the spoiler: A better example would be one in which one car manufacturer releases a car with a backlit dashboard that is laid out in a new way to maximize a driver’s ability to see all the meters and dials, and they patent that layout. Then, another company comes out with an virtually identical - other than the backlight color - dashboard on their latest car. Dashboards are common to all cars and so are the typical meters and dials that make up a dashboard, but it is the unique layout of the dashboard that has been copied. Will people, in general, care? No - but it’s still an infringement, and the first company therefore has to protect their IP, or lose the right to it.

Nemo

Oh yes, and the big issue of whether the Galaxy Tab violates Apple’s design patent in the iPad has yet to be decided.  I believe that the court in D?sseldorf, Germany is hearing the parties on that issue tomorrow.  If Apple prevails, it could result in the Galaxy Tab being banned from distribution and sale in the entire EU.  See http://blogs.wsj.com/tech-europe/2011/08/23/the-implications-for-tablets-in-europe-if-apple-win-in-germany/. 

The report, supra, also explains why the big hullabaloo over whether the pictures in Apple’s brief accurately represent the Galaxy Tab’s dimensions will have little bearing on the court’s decision in the case, as the court will refer to the actual devices, the iPad and the Galaxy Tab and not their pictures, to reach its decision.

mhikl

In the scheme of things, all this bouncy list patent does is get a couple drips of Apple?s urine on Samsung?s shoes. It hasn?t actually protected any real innovation that anyone really gives a damn about.

Actually, what it does show is how blatantly Twisted Sister Queen,  Samsung, does copy Apple. Samsung is so deliciously sloppy and is running around with a self imposed noose around its neck. It?s the look and feel thing that has Apple up in arms.

The spoiler thingy is a good idea. Samsung should think of strapping such a gizmo on its stuff. It would sell well to the style of clients it attracts.

But isn?t the discussion redundant. With Google making its own line of phones, it?s reckoned Samsung and the other Twisted Sisters are looking at other OS opportunities. I suspect we?ve not seen the last of WebOS and there is always MicroSoft, a sure winner in the field of OS bloat.

mhikl

Dashboards are common to all cars and so are the typical meters and dials that make up a dashboard, but it is the unique layout of the dashboard that has been copied.

Brilliant, man!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Check out the actual ruling. Though unreadable by the non-Dutch, the pictures speak volumes. Check out the prior art of a “slide to unlock” phone and a Knight-Ridder minimalist tablet.

Apple got its ass handed to it on a tablet.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This particular legal overture may well be irrelevant in the larger scheme of things, but it does show a precedent that Samsung willfully infringed on a unique design patent, albeit a minor one.

No. Samsung infringed a utility patent. According to the various translations floating around, the judge pretty much mocked Apple’s community design patents, saying that minimalist design is much tougher to protect with a community design patent. Specifically, form follows function.

Ross Edwards

Ross, you quoted my original post, which was irrelevant. Not your fault. Stock Gingerbread and Honeycomb do not have the bouncy scroll.

I stand corrected—thanks for the clarification.  Sounds like Google will stay well clear of this particular scuffle simply by never introducing the UI element themselves.

mhikl

Boscovian Psychoanalysis at TMO

001. Here is how it goes with this gamester. If Apple guys stand up to refute his points, he gets bored and leaves.

002. However, if Apple guys pick naughty points with Apple, he is in the game like yesterday?s socks. And he can?t stop. He?s smelled what he thinks is blood but what everyone else knows is discussion of all things Apple, the good, the not quite good and the fantastic. But he doesn?t get it. He goes on and on and on when everyone has gone on to another party. It’s an obsession.

003. Regardless the times AppleFans note Apple or their Hero for some transgression, the Boscovian desire to claim their blind faith overcomes him.

004. No matter how often AppleFans honestly stand corrected, Bosco never will. It is an impossibility. Ain’t every happened, in any life time from lizard to sentient being.

I?s sort of a pattern-picker-outer.

My favourite pattern: The Mac has always been best. The iPhone is the best. The iPad is the best. Therefore, Steve and Apple are T.H.E. Best.

Get used to it. Resistance is Futile.

Now Apple boys and girls, stand up tall and open your mouths,

It’s a long way to Cupertino,
It’s a long way to go,
It’s a long way to Cupertino,
To the sweetest Mac I know!
Goodbye Motorola! Farewell Hewlett Pachard!
It’s a long, long way to Cupertino,
But my heart’s right there!

RonMacGuy

If Apple guys stand up to refute his points, he gets bored and leaves.

He doesn’t get bored, he cowers…

mhikl

I think the door just slammed.

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