Apple vs. Samsung: Android 3 does not violate patents

A judge rules Samsung Galaxy phones will have to stop selling via The Netherlands, but Android 3 might come to the rescue.

Android

A Dutch court has banned the sale of a number of Samsung Galaxy phones, although the company may be able to get around the injunction with software updates.

Yesterday, it emerged the court had banned sales of three Samsung Galaxy phones in a number of European countries, but only because of an infringement of one Apple patent.

Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive.

That patent, which relates to a photo scrolling function, would not be infringed by Android 3, otherwise known as Honeycomb, according to reports.

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The ban on the Samsung Galaxy S, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Ace would come into force from 15 October.

Samsung therefore has to add Android 3 to those devices, or change the software so it does not infringe the photo scrolling patent, if it wants to be able to sell them across Europe.

As for the other patents being fought over, the judge did not uphold several of them, including claims Samsung had stolen design ideas from Apple.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was not affected by the court ruling either.

Samsung welcomed the judgement, appearing convinced it would only affect Dutch customers, reports found.

However, as industry onlookers have noted, Samsung uses the Netherlands to import most of its devices into the EU, meaning the injunction would prevent sales in other European nations, including the UK.

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"Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive," Samsung said in a statement.

"With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers."

As the patent infringement was related to Android issues and was upheld, it could mean Apple has grounds to take court cases to other competitors across Europe.

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