updated 01:30 pm EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
Netherlands immunizes Apple over Samsung case
A District Court in The Hague ruled Wednesday that Samsung could no longer try to sue Apple over 3G. The partial decision reaffirmed a view that Samsung can't sue as long as Apple is willing to reach a licensing deal for 3G. Apple previously said it was willing to take a license but objected to Samsung's offered terms as allegedly unreasonable.
The Korean firm also couldn't demand any patent royalties for the iPhone 4S. Samsung's license to Qualcomm exempted Apple, as the license was already paid for, the court said. An attempt to take back Qualcomm's license solely to sue Apple was also denied, as Samsung's agreement with Europe's ETSI standards body granted Qualcomm a permanent license.
Samsung still had rights to wield against the GSM iPhone 4 and all other Infineon-based iPhones from before the Qualcomm switch, although it might have to make indirect claims and accept softened damages.
The decisions effectively shut Samsung out of its main countersuit strategy in the Netherlands and reflect rejections in France and Italy based on similar grounds. Its determination that Samsung wasn't honoring patent obligations could further fuel trouble in Europe as a whole. The EU is investigating Samsung's patent practices and might force it to drop much of its case in the country. [via Webwereld and Florian Mueller]