TOKYO – A Tokyo court on Friday dismissed Apple Inc.’s claim that Samsung had infringed on its patent – the latest ruling in the global legal battle between the two technology titans over smartphones.
The Japanese court case addressed only the synchronizing technology that allows media players to share data with personal computers and was not comparable in scope to the much larger victory that Apple won in the U.S. last week.
Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, the world’s largest maker of phones, welcomed the Tokyo District Court ruling that its technology that allows media players and personal computers to share music files and other content did not infringe on Apple patents as confirming “our long-held position.”
“We will continue to offer highly innovative products to consumers, and continue our contributions toward the mobile industry’s development,” the company said in a statement.
The Apple lawyer present at the courthouse declined comment, and the company said later it had no comment, including whether it intended to appeal. In the past, Apple has accused Samsung of copying Apple products.
In a session lasting just a few minutes, Judge Tamotsu Shoji said he did not think Samsung products fell into the realm of Apple technology and dismissed the lawsuit, filed by Apple in August last year.
Apple, the Cupertino, California-based maker of the hit iPhone and iPad, is embroiled in similar legal tussles around the world over whether Samsung smartphones, which rely on Google Inc.’s Android technology, illegally used Apple designs, ideas or technology.
In one such case, a jury in California ruled last week that Samsung products illegally used such Apple creations as the “bounce-back” feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger.
The jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages, and a judge is now evaluating Apple’s request to have eight Samsung products pulled from shelves and banned from the U.S. market, including popular Galaxy model smartphones. Samsung’s latest hit, Galaxy S3, was not part of the U.S. ruling.
Friday’s ruling was the first held in Japan in the Samsung-Apple global court battle, but other technology is being contested by the two companies in separate legal cases in Japan.
Seo Won-seok, an analyst at Seoul-based Korea Investment & Securities, said the Tokyo verdict showed that the lawsuits around the world are largely isolated and may not be affected by Apple’s major victory in California.
“The favorable ruling for Samsung convinces me that lawsuits in other countries may play out differently from the one in the U.S.,” he said.
Apple products are extremely popular among Japanese consumers, but major Japanese carriers such as NTT DoCoMo sell Samsung smartphones as well. Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp. also makes smartphones and tablet devices similar to Samsung’s, using Android technology.
Samsung has sold more than 50 million Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 smartphones around the world. The legal battle also involves Samsung’s Tab device, which Apple claims infringes on patents related to the iPad tablet.
Apple vs. Samsung legal battles summarized
The Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — Apple Inc. of the U.S. and Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea are embroiled in legal battles in 10 nations over intellectual property, spanning dozens of cases. Here are details of some of the bigger legal fights:
— In the U.S., Apple scored a major victory on Aug. 24 when a jury found Samsung had “willfully” copied Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and awarded Apple $1 billion in damages. Apple is now requesting eight Samsung products be banned from the U.S. market. A hearing was rescheduled for Dec. 6.
— In South Korea, the court on Aug. 24 dismissed Apple’s claim that Samsung copied the look and feel of the iPhone and the iPad in a ruling widely seen as a victory for Samsung. Still, the judges issued bans on some Samsung and Apple products. It found that Apple illegally used Samsung’s wireless technology while Samsung violated Apple’s patent related to the way mobile devices notify users when an image reaches to the end.
— In Japan, the Tokyo District Court denied Apple’s claim on Aug. 31 that Samsung infringed upon Apple’s patent to have mobile devices and personal computers “synchronize” or share data with each other. Other cases in Japan are still pending.
— In Germany, a Dusseldorf court said last month Samsung’s Galaxy Tap 7.7 imitated Apple’s design in an “unacceptable manner” and ordered European sales stopped. But the court said another Samsung tablet computer no longer infringed Apple’s iPad patents or designs after making enough changes. Other cases are still pending.
— In Australia, Samsung became free to sell its Galaxy tablet computers after the country’s highest court dismissed Apple’s appeal in December 2011. But separate legal battles are ongoing over various patents.