Friday, January 27, 2012

Samsung loses second German 3G patent lawsuit against Apple

One week after dismissing Samsung's first German patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, the Mannheim Regional Court also rejected Samsung's second complaint.

Either complaint related to the 3G/UMTS wireless telecommunications standard.

I attended the pronouncement of the ruling (at 9 AM local time). Judge Andreas Voss did not state any particular reasons for the decision. As I explained in the post linked to above, different reasons are conceivable. The outcome of Samsung's first two German actions against Apple may be based on reasons specific to the validity and/or infringement of those patents, in which case Samsung could still prevail over any or all of three other 3G/UMTS patents it is asserting against Apple in Mannheim. Samsung is furthermore suing Apple over two non-standards-related patents, including a patent on a method to enter smileys on a mobile device.

At the mid-November hearings. it looked like Samsung was reasonably likely to prevail on at least one of the two patents. The case that was adjudicated today looked more promising to Samsung than the one dismissed last week.

For Samsung, this outcome must be disappointing. But the Korean electronics giant is known for its fighting spirit and unlikely to back down. It remains to be seen whether Samsung will appeal any of these rulings to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court. Presumably, Samsung will have to analyze the reasoning behind this decision in order to decide on a possible appeal.

Apple's and Samsung's claims against each other continue to have a very high drop-out rate in different jurisdictions. Since both companies are doing very well (with Apple being not just highly but even unbelievably profitable), they can afford to keep going, and at this point neither litigant has the leverage to force its rival into a settlement.

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