Samsung does not infringe on Apple's multitouch patent, Dutch court rules

The court ruled in line with other European courts considering the same patent

Samsung's Galaxy devices don't infringe on an Apple multitouch patent that describes technology that prevents smartphone users from pushing two on-screen buttons at the same time, the Court of the Hague ruled on Wednesday. The technique used in Android is sufficiently different from Apple's patent, the judge said.

"The court judges that Samsung with the trading of its Galaxy products does not infringe on EP 948," said judge Peter Blok and two other judges. "Apple, as the unsuccessful party, will be ordered to pay the litigation costs," the judges wrote. Samsung's costs already exceed ¬325,247 (US$422,000).

Apple sued Samsung in the Netherlands over a a multitouch patent called "touch event model." The technology described in the patent disables parts of the screen of a multitouch device when an application developer deems it necessary to do so to avoid undesirable input.

In video games for instance, it is desirable for a player to operate different control buttons at the same time. But it can also be undesirable to let the gamer push parts of the screen such as the menu bar because that can interrupt the game unexpectedly. Therefore, developers need a method to let a user control some buttons on the screen simultaneously, while disabling others on the same screen.

Both Android and iOS have a method to disable parts of the touchscreen. Apple developed and patented a technique to prevent unwanted touches by giving each element of the user interface, also known as a "view," exclusivity. Android uses a more hierarchical, similar system and doesn't apply exclusivity to one "view", Samsungs lawyer argued during the plea hearing in September, adding that Samsung's Galay's therefore do not infringe on Apple's patent.

The judges mostly followed this line of argumentation. The technology used in Android is sufficiently different from Apple's patented technology, the judges wrote. Most important is that professional developers who are familiar with the possibilities to disable part of a touch screen to prevent unwanted input, will assume that the technique used in Android 2.3, 3.0 and higher -- which Apple said Samsung's Galaxy infringed on -- "do not fall under the protection of the scope of the patent", according to the verdict.

Apple can appeal this verdict, a spokeswoman for the Court of The Hague said. Samsung nor Apple did immediately respond to a request for comment.

Today's verdict is in line with earlier European decisions concerning litigation over this patent in Europe which the Dutch judges said they considered.

Apple was also denied an injunction on Samsung's products in preliminary proceedings regarding the same patent at the Court of the Hague last year. In July, Apple was also denied an injunction against HTC in the U.K. in a case concerning the same patent, Apple appealed that case. The lower regional of Mannheim also ruled in September that Samsung's Galaxy products do not infringe on Apple's "touch event model" patent.

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 loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationapplicationsintellectual propertyiospatentSamsung ElectronicslegalMobile OSesmobileAppleAndroid OS

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?