Apple suffered a patent litigation setback in a German court, which ruled that Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility had not infringed on technology related to touchscreen functions.
The ruling should calm analysts, who feared that it might have major implications for the wider smartphone industry if Apple had prevailed, according to Reuters.
The particular technology is used in a number of Android apps, and Apple's legal challenge could have affected many other smartphone vendors using the Google software. Samsung said in a statement it welcomed the ruling, while Apple declined to comment.
The regional court in Mannheim, Germany, decided the smartphone software used by Samsung and Motorola Mobility was dissimilar from Apple's patented touch-screen functions. The patent lawsuit focused on a touchscreen function crucial to many smartphone apps which allows touchscreens to sense multiple touches at the same time, according to the Wall Street Journal. The example noted was when two fingers are pressed simultaneously on different points on the smartphone's screen.
German patent lawsuit expert Florian Mueller, suggested that the German judge took the same viewpoint that frustrated Apple's claims in the Netherlands and the UK, with the particular patent under the legal spotlight being too broad to rule in favour of a single company.
Smartphone vendors have used the German courts for recent patent battles--a Munich judge ruled last week that Motorola had infringed Apple's overscroll bounce technology patent—because to the German legal system has proved to be quicker at reaching a decision and less costly than in other jurisdictions, reported Reuters.
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Engadget article
Apple reverses ban on iPhone sales in Germany, but could stumble on iCloud
Apple, Samsung legal battle comes under EU spotlight
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 remains banned in Germany
Samsung moves to block iPhone 4S sales in France, Italy
Report: Apple demands Samsung stop European sales of Galaxy phones, tablets