A court in The Hague has banned the shipping of three Samsung Galaxy smartphones to Europe as of October 15, ruling that the company has infringed an Apple photo management patent.
The Samsung Galaxy S, SII and Ace were banned because Samsung infringes on Apple's EP 2.058.868 patent. The patent is titled "Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management" and describes a way to scroll through a photo gallery using finger gestures on a touchscreen.
Samsung infringes the Apple patent by using Android 2.3 in the three phones, according to the ruling by Judge EF Brinkman. Android 3.x that is used for tablets does not infringe this patent. The patent issue can be fixed by updating the Android software on the phones to Android 3.x, Samsung said in court earlier this month and that point was also noted by the judge in the ruling.
If Samsung fails to do this, the consequences can be very big for the European smartphone market. The Dutch infringement could block the import of all Samsung phones to Europe, since Samsung's distribution centres are located in the Netherlands, Dutch ICT news site Webwereld revealed. That is the main reason why Apple is suing Samsung in The Hague.
The judge denied all the other grounds on which Apple tried to ban the import of Samsung products into Europe. Samsung does not infringe on two other patent claims about intellectual copyright and design, the judge ruled. Further, according to the court, Samsung does not "slavishly copy" Apple's iPad and iPhone.