Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction banning Samsung from selling its Galaxy smartphones in Europe.

The injunction was set by a Dutch court following Apple’s filed a claim for patent infringement. The smartphone embargo comes into effect in seven weeks.

However, Samsung hailed the fact that the Dutch judge upheld only one of Apple’s complaints, rejecting other patent issues - including Apple's contention that Samsung has stolen a raft of its design ideas.

It welcomed the ruling: "Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive.

"With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers."

Samsung just today launched four new Android Galaxy smartphones.

Apple claims that Samsung copied technology that it owns the patents on, relating to the way photos are displayed on mobile devices.

The Rechtbank's-Gravenhage (based in the city of The Hague, Netherlands) has issued a Europe-wide preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones.

There is still confusion as to the effect of the ban. Samsung believes that the Galaxy ruling restricts only the local sale of Galaxy smartphones in the Netherlands: "This ruling is not expected to affect sales in other European markets," the statement continued.

Unlike a previous Apple action against Samsung it does not affect Samsung’s Galaxy tablets.

The decision follows a hearing held on August 10 and 11, 2011.

According to patent litigtation expert Florian Mueller the case relates to countries in which European software patent EP 2059868 is valid. The injunction doesn’t take effect in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, or Spain as Apple didn’t complete local patent registration in these countries.

But it does affect major markets such as the UK, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, Poland, Denmark, and Belgium.

While it affects three Netherlands-registered Samsung subsidiaries rather than the Korean parent company it will have an impact on Samsung's use of the Netherlands as its prime European logistics hub.

In July analysts claimed that Samsung has sold more smartphones in the past three months than Apple and Nokia.

Samsung is a favourite to win the smartphone war, with its second quarter results showing 19 million smartphone shipments and over five million Galaxy S II shipments in its first 85 days.

More to follow...