Thursday, August 9, 2012

Courts in Korea and Germany postpone decisions on three lawsuits involving Apple

Three lawsuits involving Apple -- it's the plaintiff in two of them, and the defendant in the third -- were postponed today by courts in South Korea and Germany.

The Munich I Regional Court (which has already ordered three injunctions against Google's Motorola Mobility, two of which were requested by Apple and one by Microsoft) had originally scheduled the announcement of a decision on Apple's German overscroll bounce (rubber-banding) lawsuit against Motorola for today. Presiding Judge Dr. Peter Guntz explained that the court received a filing this month (i.e., this week or last) relating to the denial by an appeals court (the Munich Higher Regional Court) of a motion for a preliminary injunction, over the same patent, against Samsung. This caused delay since one of the three judges on the panel for this case just left this particular court, making it impossible for the other two judges on the panel to discuss the matter with him. They now need time for a successor to take over. The decision has been postponed to September 13.

The appeals court's decision makes it rather difficult -- but not impossible -- for Apple to prevail. A decision would have been interesting since the rubber-banding patent is also at issue in the Apple v. Samsung trial that is currently taking place in California. Apple is also asserting this patent against Samsung in another German court, the Mannheim Regional Court. While the preliminary injunction motion was adjudicated in Munich, the full-blown main proceeding takes place in Mannheim. This is unusual, but German civil procedure allows this.

The Wall Street Journal's Evan Ramstad reports on the Korea Realtime blog (as does the Korea Herald's Cho Ji-hyun) that the Seoul Central District Court today postponed a decision, which was originally scheduled for tomorrow, on one Samsung v. Apple and one Apple v. Samsung lawsuit by two weeks until August 24. According to the WSJ blog, "the South Korean court appears to be playing only a small role in their global fight", given that "Samsung and Apple have confined their claims in the Korean court to older products and have not sought injunctions to prevent products from reaching Korean consumers" and that they're seeking only a modest amount of damages (about $90,000 in each case). Also, the WSJ cites attorneys who said there could be further delays. Serial delays of such decisions sometimes happen and can cause an aggregate delay of many months.

If you'd like to be updated on the smartphone patent disputes and other intellectual property matters I cover, please subscribe to my RSS feed (in the right-hand column) and/or follow me on Twitter @FOSSpatents and Google+.

Share with other professionals via LinkedIn: