Print 33 comment(s) - last by Cheesew1z69.. on Jan 24 at 8:27 AM

The ruling comes only days after Apple filed another lawsuit to ban the Galaxy S II smartphone in Germany

A judge from the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany ruled that Samsung's claim regarding Apple's 3G/UMTS wireless communication patent violation is not valid.

Apple and Samsung's patent war began back in April 2011 when Apple claimed Samsung was an "iPhone, iPad copycat." More specifically, Apple said the Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G and Nexus smartphones infringed on Apple patents.

Apple worked its fingers to the bone to ban Samsung's smartphones and tablets around the world, and successfully did so in countries like Australia and Germany. However, Samsung began launching a few patent suits of its own to retaliate and keep its property safe from Apple's harm. Samsung was able to lift the ban on its popular Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia in December 2011.

The two tech giants flung lawsuits back and forth through much of 2011, and it doesn't look like 2012 will be much different. Today, Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Samsung's claim against Apple, which is one of three pertaining to the 3G/UMTS wireless communication patent violation complaints in Germany, is invalid. Judge Voss did not mention why the claim was void. According to Florian Mueller, independent patent expert, two possible reasons could be that Apple's products didn't infringe on the patent in a technical sense or that the court believes Samsung's rights are "exhausted," while Apple has a technical license by extension.

"We are disappointed that the court did not share our views regarding the infringement by Apple of this specific patent in Germany," said Samsung.

The other two patent infringement claims against Apple regarding 3G/UMTS wireless communication will be determined on January 27 and March 2.

"This ruling related to only one of 13 patents that are currently in suit between those parties in Germany, and dozens of patents on a worldwide basis," said Mueller. "It's not the first rejection of a complaint involving these two players, and barring a major surprise, it won't be the last."

However, Samsung's technology isn't the only one at stake with these Apple-related patent wars. Android, which is Google's mobile operating system that runs on Samsung's mobile hardware, could stand to lose too. Just last month, the United States International Trade Commission ruled that some smartphone features are protected by Apple, such as the ability to tap a phone number within a text or email and call that person directly, and the ability to schedule a calendar appointment with the tap of a finger on a date in an email. These features, which are common throughout most smartphones now, could really hurt Android if Apple succeeds. However, most of these features require trivial changes that can work around Apple's constant griping.

The latest patent ruling comes only days after Apple filed its most recent lawsuit against Samsung in Germany, asking that the court ban Samsung's Galaxy S ll smartphone as well as nine other smartphones and five tablets.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Here we go again..
By Just Tom on 1/20/2012 2:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
That is not quite true. Look and feel is protected in the US under the Lanham Act. It is called trade dress. Now, as a practical matter it is not highly enforced but there are quite the number of cases where the sale of Gucci and other high value brand knockoffs are prosecuted, even though tag on the item does not say Gucci.

RE: Here we go again..
By sigmatau on 1/20/2012 8:20:42 PM , Rating: 2
So an iphone is a hand bag?

Apple is on target for getting sued for the largest dollar amount in Europe and probably the US for its abuse of the patent system. I hope they enjoy the "look and feel" of that multi-billion dollar fine.

RE: Here we go again..
By Just Tom on 1/21/2012 10:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
No, an iPhone is not a handbag. Did I ever argue it was? I simply pointed out that there are situations where look and feel are protected by law in the US. The post I replied to stated flatly that was not the case.

Apple is on target for getting sued for the largest dollar amount in Europe and probably the US for its abuse of the patent system. I hope they enjoy the "look and feel" of that multi-billion dollar fine.

Care to provide a source for that?

RE: Here we go again..
By silvaensis on 1/21/2012 6:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
Trade dress only applys when something has a very unique look, the fact of the matter is that the general shape and solid black color has been around in phones for a long time as well as the shiny finish. Trade dress mainly refers to something stylized so that it looks to be something it is not.
Now if Samsung had had a big logo on the back in a similar location it would violate trade dress big time. Trade dress is when you intentionally try to make your product look like a competitors to make them confuse the phones.
It would never hold up because they use vastly different logos and operating systems which are easy to tell the difference in and the general shape, placement of buttons on the bottom front, headphones jack and the like is considered functional and not subject to trade dress i.e. easiest place to access them for the use.

From the distance they say you can't tell the phones apart there are 50 other phones you could not tell apart as well. Standing 5 feet away though it would be obvious at the differences in the phones especially if you see the back of the phone.

RE: Here we go again..
By Just Tom on 1/21/2012 11:03:54 AM , Rating: 2
No where did I argue that the iPhone look was protected, so I am not sure what your point is. My reply was specific to the post before mine which used handbags as an example.

Trade dress mainly refers to something stylized so that it looks to be something it is not.

No, that is not remotely true. To go back to the original post, there have been successful handbag trade dress suits. And those handbags certainly looked like handbags. Moving out of the fashion accessory realm, things such as the iconic Coca-Cola bottle or a Rolls grill have been successfully defended in trade dress actions. A rather interesting trade dress suit was Coca-Cola's suit against Pepsi over the Trop50 containers where Coke claimed Pepsi was infringing on the look of the Simply Orange container. While it was settled out of court and the terms remain confidential it is interesting to note that the Trop50 containers no longer have green plastic tops but not use purple ones.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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