Apple vs Samsung: Samsung wins Dutch patent battle but may lose the war
A court in Netherlands has ruled that Apple infringed on Samsung’s patents in the creation of various devices, including the iPhones 3G, 3GS and 4, as well as the iPad 1 and 2.
The ruling comes amidst the various patent battles between the two electronics giants; Apple accused Samsung of ‘slavishly’ copying its design, while Samsung counter-sued with similar accusations.
The patent in question was related to a 3G technology owned by Samsung and used by the abovementioned Apple devices to connect to the Internet.
Samsung and Apple maintain a curious relationship; despite the constant flinging of lawsuits at one another, Samsung remains a key component manufacturer for a variety of Apple products.
Apple knows they will be fined, but no specific figure has been set yet. Instead the fine will be calculated based on how many patent-infringing products were sold in Netherlands from August 4 2010 – according to the court, the first date Apple could have known they were infringing on Samsung’s patent.
However, while this comes as a victory for Samsung, the overall picture will have barely changed. According to patents expert Florian Mueller, the eventual money Samsung receives for this win to cover the €800,000 legal fees they owe Apple for losing three of the other four patent cases.
“Samsung has approximately 100,000 patents worldwide. At some point it had to win something”, Mueller drily notes.
Yet Mueller notes the significance of this ruling in a symbolic sense – if not a monetary one – in that this was Samsung’s first “offensive” victory; in other words, a case where Samsung was asserting one of its own patents.
So the patents war rumbles on and on...is this a hollow victory for Samsung? Or is this another indictment of the patent law?