Dutch court issues injunction against Samsung Galaxy phones

Update. According to European patent expert Jan Wildeboer, the decision handed down by the Dutch court Wednesday allows Samsung to continue selling Galaxy phones until the deadline specified, and only requires that Samsung change the Galaxy’s image gallery software to continue selling devices after that date. It’s still a setback for Samsung, but possibly not as great of one as it originally seemed.

Apple(s aapl) has won a preliminary injunction in a Dutch court on Wednesday which prevents the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones in The Netherlands, and could affect sales across the E.U., FOSS Patents reports. The blog has a copy of the official court order, which states that the injunction will take effect in seven weeks’ time, around mid-October.

The injunction, which was issued by the Rechtbank’s-Gravenhage (a Dutch court located in The Hague), applies only to the Galaxy line of smartphones, including the Galaxy S II Samsung debuted this spring, and not Galaxy tablets. It applies to three different Samsung subsidiaries based in The Netherlands, where Samsung’s primary European logistics hub is located, which means shipping Galaxy devices to other European countries will likely require Samsung to reroute its operations. The injunction relates specifically to one device patent about mobile devices as used for photo management, and could apply to other European countries where that patent is also valid.

An earlier decision by a German court temporarily blocked sales of the Galaxy tablet line in the E.U., but sales have resumed outside of Germany pending further examination into how broadly the court can rule.

The Dutch court’s decision is the result of a request made by Apple that resulted in a hearing held Aug. 10 and 11. At the time, the court promised a decision on the matter no later than Sept. 15, so this comes much earlier than expected.

Apple’s patent battles are likely only going to get more heated thanks to Google’s (s goog) recent acquisition of Motorola(s mmi), counter-actions like Samsung’s claim of prior art related to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in the case of Galaxy Tab patent infringement claims, and HTC’s recent suit. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as the legal wrangling continues.