With the release of the iPhone 5 already a big success, selling out its supply in less than an hour, Apple has reasserted itself as the king of the smartphone. That does not mean, however, that all are ready to submit to its rule without a fight.
A German court handed down a defeat to the technology giant Friday, ruling in favor of both Samsung and Motorola in cases regarding the violation of Apple patents.
The Mannheim Regional Court decided in separate rulings that both Samsung and Motorola did not infringe on an Apple patent which relates to touch-screen technology. Apple had asserted that a feature on Android devices, which prevented users from pushing two buttons at the same time on a touch screen, was a violation of patent EP2098948.
If Apple had been victorious, Samsung and Motorola may have faced the prospect of a sales ban in Germany.
Apple has the right to appeal the ruling, but it is unclear if they will pursue one going forward.
“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. We will continue to further develop and introduce products that enhance the lives of German consumers," a Samsung spokesperson told VatorNews.
Motorola and Apple
Apple and Motorola have a long history of battling it out in court, going back all the way to 2010. Each side has claimed multiple that the other violated its patents.
Motorola first filed a complaint with the ITC against Apple in October 2010, accusing it of violating six patents. Apple then filed a counter claim, accusing Motorola of violating three of its patents, though a judge in January 2012 ruled against Apple in these claims.
In August, Motorola filed yet another complaint with the ITC, this time accusing Apple of violating seven of its patents, on features that include its location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players.
Motorola was purchased by Google in August 2011 for $12.5 billion, Google’s largest acquisition ever. It was made clear right from the start that the purchase was made so that Google could strengthen its patent portfolio, specifically to ward off threats from companies like Apple. The deal resulted in Google gaining more than 17,000 new patents from Motorola.
“Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” Google CEO Larry Page wrote on the company’s blog at the time.
Samsung and Apple
Apple and Samsung are in the midst of a lengthy and protracted legal battle that involves more than 50 lawsuits in 10 different countries. Every other week, it seems, a court somewhere in the world is ruling on a patent case involving these two companies.
Rulings have already come down in the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and now Germany.
Samsung has emerged victorious in the majority of cases so far. In August, a Japanese court ruled in a preliminary session that Samsung was not guilty of violating Apple's patents on two Samsung smartphones, the Galaxy S and the Galaxy S2, as well as the Galaxy Tab tablet.
Samsung also won in the South Korean court, successfully getting Apple banned from selling its iPhone 4 or iPad 2 in the country. At the same time, however, that court also ruled in favor of Apple, banning 10 Samsung devices from being sold as well including the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.
There is one place where Samsung has been unable to win against Apple: the United States.
In late August, a U.S. ruled against Samsung in a case against Apple, ordering Samsung to pay $1.05 billion in damages, less than half of the $2.5 billion that Apple was demanding.
The court is expected to hold a hearing very soon to determine whether or not Samsung products that violated Apple’s patents will be banned in the United States.
Last week, Samsung lost against Apple again when International Trade Commission Judge James Gildea said that Apple did not violate Samsung’s patents when it made its iPhones, iPads and iPod touch in a preliminary ruling on Friday.
Samsung had accused Apple of violating four patents, and was attempting to block the import of Apple devices into the United States.
The ruling will be subject to review, and may be overturned by the full commission.
Apple currently has an ITC complaint of its own against Samsung, filed in July of last year, currently pending. A judge is set to rule on that case is set for October 19.
Apple and Motorola could not be reached for comment.
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