Apple Vs. Samsung: Another Blow For Apple As Dutch Court Rules Samsung Does Not Infringe Multitouch Patent

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Another loss for Apple in the courts: a Dutch court in the Hague has ruled Samsung does not infringe an Apple multitouch patent, Reuters is reporting. Apple had argued last month in the court that Samsung infringed its patent on multi-touch function, according to the news agency. “With these products Samsung does not infringe the claims that Apple has made,” the latest court ruling said.

In a statement commenting on the court ruling, Samsung said: “We welcome today’s ruling, which affirms our position that our products do not infringe Apple’s intellectual property. For decades, we have heavily invested in pioneering the development of technological and design innovations in the mobile industry, which have been constantly reflected in our products. We will continue to further develop and introduce products that enhance the lives of Dutch consumers.”

We’ve also reached out to Apple for comment on the court ruling and will update this story with any response. the company declined to comment on the ruling.

Apple also lost a preliminary injunction on the same patent in the Dutch courts last year, and lost court battles in the U.K. against HTC and in Germany against Samsung and Motorola Mobility. The Dutch court acknowledged its latest multitouch patent ruling was similar to rulings in the U.K. and Germany, says Reuters.

Earlier this month Apple also lost an appeal in a U.K. High Court that had ruled Samsung’s Galaxy Tab was not cool enough to have infringed the iPad’s design. And just yesterday Samsung won a preliminary ruling invalidating one of the Apple patents that it was deemed to have infringed in the recent Apple vs Samsung U.S. trial — in which Apple won more than $1 billion in damages — after examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office took a second look at the rubber-banding patent. Apple is appealing the ruling.

Samsung has also now confirmed it has created workarounds for the rubber-banding patent and two others it was judged to have infringed by the U.S. court. Legal blog Groklaw has obtained a declaration by Samsung’s VP of product management Tim Rowden that states that the company has stopped using the ‘381 (the rubber banding patent), ‘163 and ‘915 patents and is using “design arounds” to avoid infringing these patents.

Rowden’s declaration regarding all three patents details the various devices affected and when the design arounds were implemented. Some workarounds were implemented as far back as a year ago. Here’s the relevant chunk of text

3. I understand that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (“SEC”) has developed design arounds for the ‘381, ‘163 and ‘915 patents.
4. I understand that SEC began implementing the design around for the ‘381  patent in its products by late 2011. The technical description of this design around is contained in the Declaration of Hee-chan Choi. This design around has been implemented in the Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (Model No. SGH-T989) product that is still being sold. STA received approval from T-Mobile to implement the design around for the ‘381 patent in the Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (Model No. SGH-T989) on September 28, 2011.
5. I understand that SEC began implementing the design around for the ‘163 patent in its products by March 2012. The technical description of this design around is contained in the Declaration of Hee-chan Choi. This design around has been implemented in the Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (Model No. SGH-T989) product that is still being sold. STA received approval from T-Mobile to implement the design around for the ‘163 patent in the Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (Model No. SGH-T989) on May 30, 2012.
6. The design around for the ‘915 patent has been implemented in the Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (Model No. SGH-T989) product that is still being sold. The technical description of this design around is contained in the Declaration of Hee-chan Choi. STA received approval from T-Mobile to implement the design around for the ‘915 patent in the Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (Model No. SGH-T989) on September 28, 2012.

The FOSS Patents blog recalls noticing a workaround in Europe for the rubber-banding patent as long as a year ago. The blog points out that the jury in the Apple vs. Samsung trial was not told about the workarounds because of “sanctions for litigation misconduct” — the upshot of which is Samsung has been liable for damages “even with respect to many months in which it actually wasn’t infringing anymore”.