Apple Must Pay for Infringing Samsung 3G Patent, Dutch Court Finds
The smartphone patent wars continue: Samsung may not have been able to get Apple’s devices banned in the Netherlands, but that doesn’t mean Apple wasn’t infringing on Samsung’s intellectual property. Today, The Hague District Court found that the Apple indeed uses some of Samsung’s 3G-related technology in both the iPhone and the iPad, and accordingly, the Cupertino company will have to pony up some cash to its rival.
Samsung sent out a statement lauding the Dutch court’s decision:
Samsung welcomes the decision of the court in The Hague, which again confirms that Apple makes free use of our technological innovations. In accordance with this statement, we will recover adequate damages that Apple and its products have caused.
The first two iPads and the iPhone 3, 3G and 4 were all found to be infringing Samsung’s patent, European patent EP1188269. However, Samsung licenses the technology as a “Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory” (or FRAND) patent, which means it’s included as part of a wider technological standard and available to anyone who wants to use it under reasonable terms. By forcing companies to classify patents included in industry standards as FRAND, standards-making bodies prevent the rights holders from abusing the power that having IP included in a standard could bring.
In this case, the court ruled that the patent’s FRAND classification prevents Samsung from seeking a sales ban on the Apple products in the Netherlands, even though Apple was ruled to be infringing on Samsung’s IP.
Don’t expect this to be the last Apple-Samsung squabble you hear about; the two companies are locked in tooth-and-nail patent battles in courtrooms around the globe.