A pretty sizable chunk of Europe was dealt a rather massive blow this morning in the form of a preliminary injunction on some Galaxy smartphones. Of course, this was at the behest of Apple. The tablets — the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7 — made it out of the court room alive, which is a pretty big deal for Samsung who just a few weeks ago had to deal with an EU-wide preliminary injunction on the GalTab 10.1.
The German court eventually lifted that ban temporarily across the EU with the exception of Germany. Ya know, since the court actually has the right to rule in its own country. Unfortunately, Samsung’s smartphones are now under attack, as the Hague court in the Netherlands issued an EU-wide preliminary injunction on the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Ace, which will go into effect in mid-October.
Unlike the Galaxy Tab injunction that was based on an intellectual property right (Community Design 003781832), this smartphone injunction is related to one patent: EP 2059868, related to photo management software. IP rights are granted by an agency of the EU, and thus don’t really fall under a single country’s jurisdiction. Patents, on the other hand, must receive approval from each country.
Here’s a copy of the order (be warned: Dutch/English dictionary required):
In this case, the patent in question was not made valid in a number of different European nations because Apple didn’t follow through with the application process and pay the related costs of approval. Countries in which the patent is not valid include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain, according to FOSS Patents.
So what does this mean? Well, as far as the legality of it goes, Samsung’s Korean parent branch will remain mostly unaffected by this. The Korean arm can ship its products to any of the European countries (patent valid or not), minus the Netherlands. However, three of its subsidiary branches, all registered in the Netherlands, will have to stop shipping and selling the three Galaxy smartphones named above.
What’s unfortunate for Samsung is that it’s European hub seems to be within the Netherlands, reports FOSS Patents. Though the company is still allowed to ship phones into Europe from Korea, or other subsidiary branches outside of the Netherlands, it will take a major reorganization of the logistics chain at Samsung.
Update: The BBC is reporting that Samsung will indeed reorganize its system to provide for its European customers. Here is Samsung’s official statement:
Today’s ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive. 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. This ruling is not expected to affect sales in other European markets.