A Dutch Groklaw member was kind enough to send us some details about Apple's patent loss to Samsung in the Netherlands regarding its touch screen, including a link to the decision itself. Bloomberg summarizes it nicely like this:
Samsung’s Galaxy products using certain versions of Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system don’t infringe Apple patents concerning so-called multi-touch flags, Judge Peter Blok said in a ruling today in The Hague, Netherlands. Apple claims Galaxy smartphones and tablets infringe a patent for technology that interprets finger activity on touch screens. Apple has to pay Samsung € 216.831,70 and its costs, estimated to be € 108.415,85, which Bloomberg says is around $420,000, and the costs part of the judgment is enforceable, the ruling states. I guess that means Samsung can put a lien on Apple's house, so to speak, if Apple fails to pay.
So the other day Apple was told it has to put up a notice on its website saying Samsung did not copy, thanks to failed patent aggression in the UK. Then the USPTO ruled its rubber band patent is tentatively rejected. And now it has to pay Samsung for the annoyance and costs of being sued in the Netherlands over a bunch of patents having to do with touch screens.
Maybe Apple should ask itself, is the damage to the Apple brand worth all this? Is the legal advice we've been given actually working out?
Software patents only seem to work when nobody is watching, or so it seems to be. And the whole world is watching, you know. Patent aggression over the stupid patents the USPTO seems to let slip into the marketplace makes a company look petty and small. And Android is, frankly, looking better and better.
The summary reads, first in Dutch and then in an informal translation (note not official):
De rechtbank oordeelt dat de Galaxy-producten werkend onder Android
versie 2.3 of versie 3.0 en hoger van Samsung niet onder de
beschermingsomvang van de onafhankelijke conclusies van EP 948 vallen.
Daaruit volgt dat Samsung met die producten ook geen inbreuk maakt op
de door Apple ingeroepen afhankelijke conclusies. De vorderingen van
Apple moeten dus worden afgewezen.
The verdict is goes like this:
"The court declares that the Galaxy products operating under Android
version 2.3 or version 3.0 and up are not covered by the independent
claims of EP 948. From this follows that Samsung does not violate the
claims as stated by Apple. Apple's demands have to be turned down."
6. De beslissing And in English, again not official:
6.1. wijst de vorderingen af,
6.2. veroordeelt Apple in de proceskosten, aan de zijde van Samsung
tot op heden begroot op € 216.831,70,
6.3. verklaart dit vonnis in conventie wat betreft de
kostenveroordeling uitvoerbaar bij voorraad,
6.4. stelt vast dat de voorwaarde waaronder de vorderingen zijn
ingesteld niet is ingetreden,
6.5. veroordeelt Apple in de proceskosten, aan de zijde van Samsung
tot op heden begroot op € 108.415,85 ,
6.6. verklaart dit vonnis in reconventie wat betreft de
kostenveroordeling uitvoerbaar bij voorraad.
6. The verdict
Update: The ITC just went the other way, ruling that Samsung has violated 4 Apple patents, leading to this comment by IDC's Will Stofega:
in the first round
6.1 denies the claims,
6.2 orders Apple to pay Samsung's costs, estimated to be € 216.831,70,
6.3 declares this judgement to be enforcable regarding the costs,
6.4 Notes that the condition under which the demands are instituted
has not expired,
6.5 orders Apple to pay Samsung's costs, estimated to be € 108.415,85
6.6 declares this judgement to be enforcable regarding the costs.
“People see what’s happening in the other countries, but here in the U.S., every time they go up against Apple, they lose,” said Will Stofega, a program manager at Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher IDC. “Samsung will continue to fight. In the long run, this cult of Apple may not be a good thing to have.”