Samsung suffers legal setback against Apple
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics suffered another legal setback in its patent battle with Apple, after a German court ruled against its claim that the iPhone maker infringed on its smartphone patents.
The decision by the regional court in Mannheim Friday (KST) came a week after it shot down claims by the Korean technology giant that Apple infringed on its patents related to third-generation (3G) mobile communications standards.
With Samsung continuing to find itself on the wrong end of court decisions in its fight, it remains to be seen whether the company will seek a truce with its U.S. rival in the form of a cross-licensing agreement or other arrangement.
However, some industry officials believe that Samsung executives are too proud to throw in the metaphorical towel on the technology sector’s most high-profile intellectual property bout.
``It’s too early to talk about a cross-licensing agreement, but we have to admit that is a scenario that has become likelier than before,’’ said an official who declined to be named.
The latest decision addresses one part of Samsung’s arguments that Apple’s wireless technology, also related to 3G, infringes upon it patents. Judge Andreas Voss didn’t immediately offer an explanation for his ruling.
``For Samsung, this outcome must be disappointing,’’ wrote Florian Mueller, the blogger behind influential patent blog, FossPatents.
``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.
``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, they can afford to keep going, and at this point neither litigant has the leverage to force its rival into a settlement.’’
Last April, Samsung filed complaints with the German court claiming that Apple was unlawfully using three of its communications technology patents. The decision on the third front of the dispute will be made on March 2.
Samsung and Apple have been engaged in an ugly legal dispute since April last year when Apple accused its Korean rival of copying the looks and feel of iPhones and iPads in its own smartphones and tablets.
The legal fight has been held around the world with 30 cases pending in the courts of 10 countries so far.
The ruling comes weeks after Samsung Electronics CEO Choi Gee-sung hinted that Samsung may choose not to let its fight against Apple go the distance on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Samsung’s legal team has been pressed to get creative in finding ways to put an end to the legal dispute.
One option it has been considering is to exploit a decision by a U.S. court that granted Samsung the rights to access information on a technology contract between Apple and wireless technology provider Qualcomm, a development reported by The Korea Times earlier this month.