Apple was found by the court to be infringing on European Patent 1188269, entitled "Apparatus for Encoding a Transport Format Combination Indicator for a Communication System," The Verge reported on Wednesday. The patent in question is a FRAND patent, meaning it must be licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, which means Samsung cannot seek a ban on sales or import of Apple's devices.
The Apple devices found to have infringed on Samsung's 3G patent are the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, first-generation iPad, and iPad 2.
Samsung said in a statement to AllAboutPhones that the company will "recover adequate damages" from Apple in accordance with the court's rulings. It said the decision verifies "that Apple makes free use of our technological innovations."
Last year, a judge in the Netherlands denied Samsung's request to halt sales of the iPhone and iPad. That decision was also based on 3G patents owned by Samsung.
But while Samsung couldn't bar sales of Apple's devices, it could now collect damages from them. The decision in the Netherlands is one of few legal victories Samsung has seen in its ongoing legal spat with Apple, which spans dozens of complaints across 10 countries.
But intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said in his analysis on Wednesday that Samsung's victory is only a "consolation prize" that only amounts to a "symbolic" victory for the company.
"Tiny amounts of money won't get Apple to settle," he said. "Samsung was trying hard to win an injunction, but failed. From a strategic point of view, it had already lost 99.9% of these cases even before today's liability ruling came down. This really is nothing more than symbolic."