Dutch court rules for Samsung in patent dispute with Apple
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics said Thursday it will seek compensation from Apple after the Hague District Court in the Netherlands ruled in its favor regarding a 3G technology patent infringement.
"The court orders that the defendant pay Samsung for the damages it suffered since August 4, 2010 as the result of an infringement on (patent) EP 269," the court said in its ruling.
Samsung took Apple to court on June 30, 2011 for alleged infringements on four of its 3G, or third-generation, telephone technology patents.
``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 company said in a statement, Thursday.
The order from The Hague is calling for Apple to pay damages for infringing a technical telecommunications patent for use in its mobile devices including the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2. These old-fashioned Apple products used baseband chips from Intel and Infineon.
But Samsung expects to receive ``a few million dollars’’ damages ― even if Apple accepts the ruling ― as the court rejected the claim that Apple infringed on three further technical patents it owns.
The court believes Apple’s newer iPhone 4S and New iPad are using Qualcomm’s baseband chips. Qualcomm manufactured its chipsets by paying royalties to Samsung, which means Apple has no problem to manufacture products using these.
``Samsung had been asked by Apple to pay 2.4 percent of the unit price of an Apple device in return for using its telecom-related patents. Because The Hague court gave victory in just one case, the actual compensation should be small,’’ said an official.
Damages should be calculated based on Dutch sales figures since August 4, 2010 ― which the court said was the date when Apple could have known it was violating Samsungs patent.
A Samsung spokeswoman said she didn’t know whether the ruling had any international implications, nor did she know how much money the company would ask for.
``When one narrows the case down to just the Netherlands, then the compensation will be very small. However, if Samsung wins the next cases, then Apple needs to pay a lot more,’’ said the official, adding the firm expects to receive less than 1 billion won from the Dutch case.
Samsung takes the ruling as a symbolic victory but it still remains to be seen how the Dutch court decision will be a turning point in its global patent battle with the California-based Apple.
Although sources are saying the ruling from the Netherlands is ``meaningful,’’ it seems too premature to say the win will serve as a breakthrough.
``There’s some symbolic significance in the fact that after more than a year of litigation, Samsung has finally won a ruling in an offensive case, a case in which it was asserting one of its own patents,’’ said Florian Mueller, a German-based patent expert.
``Tiny amounts of money won’t get Apple to settle. The very recent ruling from the Netherlands means that the parties now have to make their arguments as to what the FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory term) royalty rate should be,’’ he said.