Samsung won't be able to reintroduce a bounce-back photo gallery feature in the Netherlands after a Dutch court banned the sale of all current and future devices infringing an Apple patent.
In its decision on Tuesday, the Court of Appeals in The Hague upheld a 2012 sales ban on Galaxy products that run Android 2.2.1 through 2.3.7 and that don't use Samsung's new proprietary photo gallery software, according to the verdict shared with the IDG News Service by Apple.
The 2012 ruling found that the Galaxy S, SII and Ace infringed on Apple's bounce-back patent, which describes a feature in which a user who scrolls beyond the edge of a zoomed-in photo sees a glimpse of the next one, after which the initial photo bounces back.
The appeals court however broadened the scope of the ban, now includes all current and future infringing Samsung devices. The broadened sales ban will have little impact though, since Android versions 3.0 and higher don't infringe on the patent.
Samsung also stopped delivering infringing products to clients as of the end of August 2011 when it introduced a work-around for the infringing phones. This happened shortly after the The Hague District Court banned the sales of the Galaxy S, SII and Ace in Europe in the first preliminary ruling in this case. Samsung's work-around introduced a blue flash to the photo gallery that illuminates the edge of an image when the user tries to scroll.
The court of appeals also limited the sales ban to the Netherlands, overturning a broader injunction on sales of infringing devices elsewhere in Europe.
Germany's Federal Patent Court invalidated the bounce-back patent in September last year because Steve Jobs showed how the technology worked during a keynote months before the company applied for the patent in Europe, the Court of Appeals in The Hague noted. It is therefore likely that the patent will also be found invalid by judges in other European countries, the court said, adding that it will therefore not allow any cross-border sales bans.
Samsung has taken the necessary measures for the sales ban to have "no effect whatsoever" on the sale of its products in the Netherlands and elsewhere, it said in an emailed statement.
Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to [email protected]