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Judge GIVES APPLE THE FINGER in multitouch iDevice patent case

Or more accurately, lets Samsung give Cupertino two

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Samsung is allowed to make phones that enable users to use two fingers on the screen at once, ruled a Dutch judge today, kicking out Apple's infringement claim over its multitouch patent.

Apple's claim was dismissed and it was ordered to pay Samsung's litigation costs this morning by Judge Peter Blok and two other judges at the court in the Hague.

The court agreed with Samsung's defence that the technique it uses to enable multitouch on its Android phones differs from the technique Apple uses.

The Apple patent specifically describes a method for switching off part of a touchscreen when two fingers are being used, to avoid confused input.

According to an IDG news report, Apple's method gives each different part of the screen exclusivity – allowing two parts to work simultaneously but disabling the rest. Android uses what is described as a more "hierarchical" system.

Apple's bid to sue another Android manufacturer, HTC, over the same patent in the UK was kicked out in July.

Samsung told The Reg:

We welcome today’s ruling, which affirms our position that our products do not infringe Apple’s intellectual property. For decades, we have heavily invested in pioneering the development of technological and design innovations in the mobile industry, which have been constantly reflected in our products.

A trial over the multi-touch patent is ongoing in Germany.

Apple can appeal the judgment. ®

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