'

Dutch court blocks Galaxy phones in parts of Europe

A Dutch court has ordered a preliminary injunction against Samsung in the company's ongoing patent battle with Apple.The injunction against Samsung's Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones was granted by the Rechtbank's-Gravenhage in The Hague on Wednesday, and is due to come into effect in mid-October, according to court documents.

A Dutch court has ordered a preliminary injunction against Samsung in the company's ongoing patent battle with Apple.

The injunction against Samsung's Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones was granted by the Rechtbank's-Gravenhage in The Hague on Wednesday, and is due to come into effect in mid-October, according to court documents. Samsung Galaxy tablets were cleared by the court.

The court order could limit sales of Samsung's smartphones in a number of European countries, including the UK, software patent campaigner Florian Mueller told ZDNet UK on Wednesday, the same day Samsung updated its Galaxy smartphone range in the UK.

"Samsung will not be allowed to sell [the affected Galaxy smartphone models] in certain countries without adjustments," said Mueller.

The court found that software on the Galaxy smartphone models infringed an Apple patent relating to photo gallery functionality.

The Apple patent covers a number of European countries, including the UK and France. Apple let the patent lapse in other European countries such as Spain.

Mueller said that Samsung had a number of options to continue sales, including disabling the disputed functionality, or shipping phones directly from Asia rather than through its Rotterdam logistics hub. The injunction was granted against three Dutch Samsung subsidiaries.

Samsung Galaxy smartphones run the Android operating system. Mueller called the injunction "a severe blow against Android" in a blog post on Wednesday.

Samsung vowed to continue its fight against Apple, saying on Wednesday that the ruling would not affect Galaxy sales outside Holland.

"Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive," Samsung said in a statement. "With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers.

"This ruling is not expected to affect sales in other European markets. Samsung has a proud history of innovation in the mobile industry. We will continue our plans to introduce new products and technologies that meet and exceed consumer expectations. And we will defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings around the world."

Samsung and Apple have fought legal actions over patents in a number of countries, with countersuit following suit. A preliminary Europe-wide ban of sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets was lifted last week, apart from in Germany, after an appeal by Samsung against the injunction.

Apple's UK press office was not available for comment at the time of writing.