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Japanese court rules against Apple in Samsung patent dispute

Tokyo court rules that Samsung smartphones and tablet computers don't breach Apple patent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 3:05am

Computer and smartphone maker Apple lost a patent lawsuit in Japan yesterday as a Tokyo judge ruled that Samsung Electronics' smartphones and tablet computers did not infringe on an Apple invention in the most recent decision of a global dispute.

Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and a tablet did not breach Apple's patent related to synchronising music and video data in devices to servers, Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji ruled.

Apple and Samsung are battling over the multibillion-dollar smartphone market, with patent disputes being litigated on four continents. Apple won a US$1.05 billion verdict in the United States on August 24, with a jury finding that South Korea-based Samsung infringed six of seven patents for mobile devices.

The two companies are also bound by commercial deals involving components supply.

Apple, the maker of iPhones, sued Samsung, the world's biggest maker of mobile phones, in Tokyo last year, claiming the Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab, and Galaxy S II infringed the patent on synchronisation, and sought 100 million yen (HK$9.86 million), in damages.

The Galaxy series of products in Japan is offered by NTT DoCoMo, the country's biggest mobile-phone company.

Samsung does not provide sales figures for Japan. The company generated about 12 per cent of its revenue from Asia, excluding South Korea and China, in the quarter to June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. California-based Apple got 5.7 per cent of its sales in Japan during the same period, according to the data.

Both companies were barred from selling some phones and tablet computers in South Korea on August 24 when a Seoul Central District Court ruled they infringed each other's patents.

Apple was ordered to stop selling the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1, and iPad 2 in South Korea; while Samsung was ordered to stop selling 12 products including the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and the Galaxy Tab.

Apple was also ordered to pay Samsung 40 million won (HK$273,135) and Samsung must pay its rival 25 million won for the patent infringements.

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