Japan court rejects Apple patent claims against Samsung (Update)

Aug 31, 2012 by Kyoko Hasegawa
An employee shows an Apple iPhone 4s (L) and a Samsung Galaxy S3 (R) at a mobile phone shop in Seoul on August 27. A Japanese court Friday rejected Apple's claim that South Korean rival Samsung stole the US firm's technology for its own products, the latest ruling in a global patent battle between the tech giants.

A Japanese court Friday rejected Apple's claim that Samsung stole its technology, dealing a blow to the iPhone maker which last week won more than $1 billion in damages in the US from its bitter rival.

The ruling by the Tokyo District Court is the latest chapter in a long-running global patent war between the smartphone giants which have accused each other of stealing intellectual property for their own products.

The Japanese court found that the South Korean firm did not infringe Apple's iPhone and iPad patents for some of its own Galaxy smartphones and tablet computer. The three-judge panel also awarded legal costs to Samsung.

"The defendant's products do not seem like they used the same technology as the plaintiff's products so we turn down the complaints made by (Apple)," Judge Tamotsu Shoji told the court.

Apple had sought damages and to block sales of some Samsung products in Japan, where both firms have seen their popularity rise in a market traditionally dominated by domestic giants such as Sharp and Sony.

As well as dealing a blow to the US firm, the ruling will help Samsung pick itself up after the defeat in the United States, analysts said.

Samsung shares closed 1.48 percent higher in Seoul on Friday.

"Investors were encouraged by the ruling in Tokyo... it eased concern over Samsung's future which had been raised by the defeat in the US court battle," said Seo Won-Seok, analyst at Korea Investment Securities.

Samsung, which has steadfastly denied its rival's claims in a string of similar cases filed across the globe, hailed the Tokyo court's ruling.

"We welcome the court's decision, which confirmed our long-held position that our products do not infringe Apple's intellectual property," it said in a statement.

Graphic showing market share for smartphones in Q2 2012, led by Samsung with 32.6 percent share and followed by Apple with 16.9 percent.

A Japan-based spokesman for Apple, which can appeal the verdict, declined to comment.

Last week the iPhone maker won $1.05 billion in a massive US court victory over Samsung with jurors finding that the South Korean firm had "willfully" infringed on Apple's patents.

The Japanese case, which focused on Apple's claim that Samsung stole technology used to transfer music and video files, sought a comparatively small amount—100 million yen ($1.27 million)—in damages.

"It was a ruling on just one technology so it is difficult to draw any conclusion on its overall impact," said Michiru Takahashi, a patent lawyer at Jones Day in Tokyo.

"But... if Samsung had lost again it would have considerably hurt its image."

Samsung and Apple are reportedly fighting patent cases in at least 10 countries.

The high-profile verdict in the United States last week regarded patents on a range of Samsung products including some of its popular smartphones and its Galaxy 10 tablet.

Jurors rejected the South Korean electronics firm's patent theft counterclaims against Apple.

Also last week, a court in Seoul ruled the pair swiped each other's technology, ordering Apple to pay damages of 40 million won ($35,000) while saying Samsung must pay its rival 25 million won for violating one of Apple's patents.

Each company had sought damages of 100 million won.

The South Korean court said there was "no possibility" that consumers would confuse Samsung and Apple smartphones—a key issue in the US trial—and that Samsung's smartphone icons do not infringe Apple's patents.

But it said Samsung infringed Apple's patent for bounce-back technology, a widely copied spring-back action when users reach the edge of a document.

The court imposed a partial ban on both firms' product sales.

The patent cases come as Apple loses ground to rivals including Samsung that use the Android operating system developed by Google.

Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones globally between April and June, while Apple sold 26 million iPhones, according to research firm IDC.

The Asian firm held 32.6 percent market share compared to 16.9 percent for Apple, which has a roughly 70-percent share of the global tablet market.

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User comments : 15

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Vendicar_Decarian
3.4 / 5 (8) Aug 31, 2012
Japan. A superior culture.

Anda
4.2 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2012
Really...
Fuck you Apple.
sherriffwoody
5 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2012
What's that now, 6 out of 7 wins for Samsung? Sounds like a green day song to me.
Msafwan
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 31, 2012
Scroll bounce at edge is patented? O_o
why patent such easy concept.
Aloken
4.6 / 5 (7) Aug 31, 2012
The advent of software (non material property) messed up the patent system. Now companies think they can own ridiculous things like gestures just because you do them while touching a screen. They create a window with 3 rounded corners and one 90 degree corner, PATENT/SUE.
hb_
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 31, 2012
@Aloken

I couldn't agree more.
Deathclock
4 / 5 (11) Aug 31, 2012
Apple is the one of if not THE largest company in America... Samsung is Korean... Our government (or a branch thereof) Awarding Apple 1bn in damages is basically writing a sizeable check to itself. Now that other countries and other courts are weighing in and America is the ONLY country that found in favor of Apple this is starting to smell even more foul.
nejc2008
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 31, 2012
I once considered myself a great Apple fan...

Now it's gone, gone, gooone...
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (6) Aug 31, 2012
Don't forget... Apple once had a long dragged out legal claim against Microsoft in which they claimed they owned the concept of and icon for the desktop trashcan, as well as the placement of the desktop title bar at the top of the screen.

Apple hasn't changed.
flicktheswitch
5 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2012
Actually they've gotten much worse than Microsoft's nasty practices.

Admittedly the US case sets a new low for grandstanding, punitive awards, and ridiculous patents on shapes, gestures and bounces, but the only conspiracy here may simply be the jury were morons:

http://www.grokla...10525390

Thay may as well have just said: "It was much easier when we reailsed that all we had to do to get out of here was put random numbers in the little boxes."
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Sep 01, 2012
You mean like the jury in the OJ Simpson trial?

When I Google "Idiot Jury" I get over 5 million hits from American sites.

"but the only conspiracy here may simply be the jury were morons:" - flicktheswitch

Are you sure that it's just the jury that are idiots and not the sample population they are drawn from?
Green_Dragon
not rated yet Sep 01, 2012
What's worse is that the judge can possibly triple that number. A hefty 3 billion in Apples pocket.
antonima
5 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2012
It seems ridiculous to set a jury to judge a case of industrial espionage. They prolly set the two images in front of 12 semi-literate ageing people who got confused thinking about smartphones and techmology in general. . . probably.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Sep 03, 2012
In other cases, Apple has been caught photoshopping pictures of competitors products to make them look more like Apple products to facilitate legal action against them.

In America, Corporations have the right to lie.
yogurtforthesoul
not rated yet Sep 05, 2012
It looks like the American decision might end up getting thrown out and certainly from what I've read appealed at the least.

The jury foremen has spoken out with another juror and it's clear that they didn't follow their jury instructions, including their deliberation instructions.

He was a patent holder, it's unknown if either side knew though it seems they didn't. He was also a bit of an Apple fan-boy, like the other juror, he made his choice very quick. The other juror remarked that it was obvious after day one that Samsung had wronged Apple in some fashion. Apparently, deciding without deliberation.

He also decided, at a point when the jury was stalemated on the topic of prior art to tell them of an "epiphany" he had regarding the issue that ended up switching everyone against Samsung. What he thought up was completely wrong!

They had 700 questions; let's say 20 minutes per question, referencing all the evidence. How did they finish so fast? They screwed up, big time...