Apple wins ban on sales of Samsung Galaxy smartphones in Europe
Samsung's Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones have been placed under a preliminary injunction that halts sales of the devices in 30 European countries, according to reports.
The ruling Wednesday from a court in the Netherlands to freeze sales of selected Samsung smartphones is the latest development in the ongoing international patent dispute between Samsung and Apple.
Samsung has until the middle of October, about seven weeks, to cease sales of the phones that the court believes may have violated Apple patents detailing touch gestures such as swiping between images in a photo gallery, according to a report from the blog FOSS Patents.
The granting of the injunction, though reversible, signals that the court thinks Apple's case has merit and forbids Samsung to sell the phones until the matter can be sorted out by the court.
The injunction doesn't cover all of the European Union because Apple failed to complete the full registration process for some of its patents in countries including Greece, Italy and Spain, FOSS Patents said in its report.
Interestingly, the ruling doesn't cover the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, another disputed device in Apple's patent battle with Samsung. FOSS Patents said the tablet was excluded from this injunction at Apple's request -- a puzzling reversal.
Previously, Apple has pushed for sales injunctions against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant says not only violates its patents, but also seeks to emulate the look and feel of its iPad.
Samsung has agreed to stop selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until the dispute is settled. A German court also recently granted a preliminary injunction that stopped the sales and marketing of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 across Europe, with the exception of the Netherlands, before scaling back that decision to just Germany because it wasn't sure if it had the jurisdiction to institute a continent-wide ban.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A pedestrian walks past advertisements of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S smartphone, outside the company's headquarters in Seoul. Credit: Truth Leem / Reuters