updated 10:00 am EDT, Wed August 24, 2011
Dutch side with Apple on request to ban Samsung
A court in The Hague dealt a blow to Samsung on Wednesday when it ruled that many of its core products would be banned from sale. Samsung was barred in a summary judgment by the Netherlands court from selling the Galaxy S, the S II, and Ace over their "slavish imitation" of an iPhone patent. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 and its never-shipped original 10.1, the 10.1v, were exempt.
The Korean phone hardware was found to be violating a photo gallery browsing method. Other disputes in the case have centered on unlocking by dragging an image as well as a specific multi-touch input method Samsung was using in Android 2.3.
Its ban is not only valid in the Netherlands but also in "many European countries" where Dutch companies also operate, based on one design patent violation. Any ban will take effect from October 13.
It's unclear if The Hague has the authority claimed by a German court for a similarly far-reaching ban. The Dusseldorf-based ban was at least temporarily overturned as its mandate was called into question.
The move is nonetheless a surprise blow to Samsung, which wasn't expected to face any decision until September 15, when the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was under scrutiny. Its arguments centered on Apple's community design rights being too generic and had been given a public airing that they hadn't in Germany, where it filed a preemptive defense but didn't have a formal time in court.
Many have pointed out that at least Samsung's smartphone designs have conspicuous similarities in hardware and software to Apple's designs that aren't necessary in stock Android. The Galaxy Ace, S, and S II in their international flavors all have a large, iPhone-style home button that virtually no other Android phone has, while TouchWiz's home screen layout and icon design looks much more like Apple's than the regular Android icons. Some apps also have conspicuous similarities.