August 11, 2011 / 5:55 PM / 9 years ago

Dutch court to rule on Apple, Samsung dispute

THE HAGUE, Aug 11 (Reuters) - A Dutch judge said on Thursday he would rule by Sept. 15 on Apple’s bid to ban some of Samsung Electronics’ products in the Netherlands and European Union, part of a wider battle between the two giants.

Apple has filed an injunction at a court in The Hague on three patents, copyright as well as design infringements, to stop the sale of some Samsung products in the Netherlands and block their distribution in the EU via the Netherlands.

The Dutch port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe, and a key point of entry for imported goods for the European Union.

In what has proved to be a global intellectual property battle, Apple has said Samsung’s Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets “slavishly” copied Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Apple has sued the Korean firm in the United States, Australia and elsewhere.

On Monday, a German court temporarily barred Samsung from selling its flagship Galaxy tablet in most of the European Union.

Samsung’s Galaxy tablet, which is about to go on sale in most European markets and is seen as a serious rival to Apple’s iPad, is at the heart of the Dutch court case.

“It is simply a copy of Apple, and that’s why we are standing here today,” Apple’s lawyer Rutger Kleemanuns told the court.

Lawyers for both Apple and Samsung argued over the alleged patent infringements in court on Thursday, as well as the similarities in design and the “look and feel” of the tablets, in particular their thinness, shininess, and the rounded corners of the latest flat-screen gadgets.

Intellectual property rights are granted by an agency of the European Union and can therefore be enforced on an EU-wide basis, patent expert Florian Mueller said earlier this week.

“The issues discussed at the hearing in The Hague this week are much broader than the allegations Apple brought against Samsung in its request for a preliminary injunction in Germany,” Mueller said, adding that the Dutch case also includes several technical patents.

Samsung lawyer Bas Berghuis van Woortman argued that the case heard on Thursday, particularly with respect to the patents, was too complicated for the jurisdiction of the court, which hears summary cases and decides on rulings relatively quickly.

Samsung’s lawyer argued that the patent cases should not be heard using a summary proceeding but should be allowed more time.

Dutch judge Edger Brinkman told the court he would decide on the case by Sept. 15, adding that if he rules in Apple’s favour, the injunction would come into effect four weeks later, on Oct. 13.

“I will be thinking long and hard about whether this case justifies any form of injunction,” Brinkman said. (Reporting by Roberta B. Cowan; Editing by Sara Webb and Will Waterman)

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