Things are getting more complicated for Samsung on the legal front in Europe: a Dutch court has ruled that the company’s Galaxy S, Galaxy Ace, and Galaxy S II smartphones infringe one of Apple’s patents, and should be removed from importation or sale by October 13th. That follows a German ruling from two weeks ago granting Apple a similar preliminary injunction against Samsung’s products, but Dutch ruling is critical for two reasons: one, it’s being reported that Samsung’s European supply channels all go through the Netherlands, so the ruling could effectively halt sales across the EU, and second, the Dutch court actually granted a ruling on the merits and found just a single infringed patent in Android 2.3, which covers the behavior of Apple’s iOS photos app. Android 3.0 devices like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are unaffected.
That’s actually super important, and you might actually characterize this as a mixed victory for Apple: the court ruled against Cupertino’s other patent and trademark claims at this juncture, and Florian Mueller says it cast a disparaging eye on some of Apple’s software patents as well. If Samsung — or Google! –is able to issue a patch for its photos app that designs around the single patent in question quickly enough, it may well avoid any issues with this ruling at all — and eventually find itself able to argue persuasively against the rest of Apple’s claims in general. We’ll see what happens — things can change rather quickly — but this definitely isn’t a slam dunk for Apple, and the ball appears to be in Samsung’s court.
Update: And just like that, Samsung’s Dutch lawyer tells Tweakers.net that Samsung plans to patch the gallery app and continue selling the Galaxy line of phones.