updated 02:00 am EDT, Fri August 31, 2012
Apple must pay costs of suit, case dismissed with prejudice
Apple lost a patent battle in Japan today, as Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoju ruled that Samsung Electronics Company didn't infringe on an Apple invention for music and video synchronization with remote servers. Apple was, however, only ordered to pay the costs of the lawsuit after his verdict, and is free to appeal the ruling. The loss is the second defeat handed to the Cupertino manufacturer in Asia in as many weeks.
"It's hard to believe the products belong to the range of technologies of the claimant," the judge said while dismissing Apple's case. Apple had sought $1.27 million in damages from the Japan suit, indicating that the lawsuit was a minor matter fought more on principle than over actual market harm.
Apple and Samsung are engaged in some 50 legal battles in 10 countries on four continents, and observers can safely expect each company to be handed some losses -- but the Japanese case is actually more of a draw, claims technology patent analyst Florian Mueller. Though Samsung avoided any liability and gained a psychological victory, the dismissal amounts to a brief firefight win in a war in which Samsung and its allies -- notably Google -- are not prevailing overall.
Had the court decided on a sales injunction against Apple (or against Samsung), Mueller argues, the case could be called a true win for whichever party had succeeded. Instead, the court decided that Samsung was not infringing and left it at that -- a verdict that Apple will certainly appeal.
Despite a billion dollar award in the United States (that could end up being tripled due to the finding of willful infringement), courts in Asia have thus far not handed Apple victories in its battles with Samsung. Hours before the US verdict was reached, a Korean court found both Apple to be in violation of Samsung's patents and vice versa, with just tens of thousands of dollars exchanging hands. The South Korean court ordered bans of Apple iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, first generation iPad, and iPad 2. Samsung also suffered bans of 12 infringing devices, but unlike Apple, the phones in question were mostly obsolete.