IP News

Apple Ruling Hits Samsung

Publishers:admin    Date:2011-10-20 13:37:54    Hits:675

A Dutch court barred units of Samsung Electronics Co. from selling several smartphone models in much of Europe, marking a victory for Apple Inc. as it engages in global litigation to protect its iPhone and other mobile devices.

The preliminary ruling prohibits three Dutch units of the South Korean company from selling the Galaxy S, S II and Ace smartphones because of the way they scroll photos and other information across screens. The method was deemed to be too similar to the way Apple's popular smartphone handles similar tasks.

Wednesday's order takes effect Oct. 13 and covers activities by the Netherlands-based subsidiaries in most European countries.

The ruling applies only to Samsung's subsidiaries in the Netherlands. Samsung can export the devices elsewhere in Europe through other operations. But since the Netherlands is an important distribution hub, the company will have to rework its logistics to continue selling the devices elsewhere in Europe. The company also can modify its software to avoid the patent violation.

A Samsung representative said the company will take "all possible measures, including legal action" to ensure there is no disruption in sales.

An Apple spokeswoman reiterated that the Cupertino, Calif., company believes that Samsung had copied its products.

The court rejected some of Apple's claims, including that Samsung had copied Apple's device designs.

The ruling doesn't apply to Samsung's latest tablet computer, which was released this summer and runs on Google's Android operating system and is considered the most promising competitor to Apple's iPad. A court in Germany is considering a separate case filed by Apple against Samsung's Galaxy tablet.

Wednesday's ruling came as Apple engages in several legal skirmishes with competitors around the world. Apple has claimed that products running Google Inc.'s Android operating system infringe on its patents. Apple also has locked horns with, among others, Taiwan's HTC Corp. and U.S.-based Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which is being acquired by Google Inc. for its valuable trove of patents. Apple also has sued Samsung in the U.K., the U.S., South Korea and elsewhere.

More consumers are opting for smartphones over standard mobile devices to get access to such functions as Web browsing, streaming video and applications like games. Smartphone sales are expected to jump about 56% to 467.6 million units world-wide this year and reach 652.7 million units next year, according to research company Gartner Inc.

Apple has notched victories in other jurisdictions as well. Earlier this month, a German court barred the sale of the newest version of Samsung's tablet computers. Apple also won an agreement from Samsung in Australia to postpone the sale of tablet computers until a patent lawsuit there is resolved.

Source: online.wsj.com
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