A Dutch court ruled Wednesday to ban the sale of three Samsung Galaxy smartphones--but not the Galaxy tablet--marking a victory for Apple in their seemingly never-ending effort to sue their competitors for patent infringement. Because Samsung funnels all of its shipments through the Netherlands, the injunction amounts to a Europe-wide ban, but Samsung doesn't seem too bummed. The injunction won't take effect until October 13 and can be lifted with a software update, as the ruling is based on a single Apple patent related to navigating through images in a photo gallery using a touchscreen. Furthermore, Samsung is having a blast vilifying Apple in the media.
Minutes after the ruling Samsung sounded bubbly about the outcome. "Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive," the company said in a statement that also brushed away doubts that Samsung would stop them selling their devices in Europe. This angle matches Samsung's recent defense strategy regarding a similar patent infringement case in the U.S., where they've actually accused Apple of borrowing elements of the iPad design from science fiction novels and movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The suggestion that Apple borrowed ideas comes soon after an earlier accusation from a Dutch magazine that Apple doctored images submitted to a German court in an effort to make the the Galaxy tablet look more like the iPad. That revelation led to the reversal of an injunction handed down by a German court for Samsung to stop selling the Galaxy tablet. Samsung has since used allegations of Apple's dirty trickery in other court filings in several of its 18 other ongoing lawsuits with Apple.
Despite all this, Apple's court victory is still a victory, even if it doesn't extend to the tablets. It's a victory not only over Samsung but the entire Android family, affecting Google, HTC, Motorola and others. As patent expert Florian Mueller explains, "Apple has now obtained the first enforceable court decision (out of many lawsuits going on around the world) that finds Android to infringe an Apple patent -- and there will definitely be many more to come."