Apple lost a request for a preliminary injunction in Germany against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1N and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone on Wednesday after a German court ruled that the patent being asserted by Apple is likely to be found invalid.
This case shouldn’t be mistaken for the story coming out of Germany on Tuesday, where the courts upheld an injunction won by Apple against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the first version of the device Samsung took to market in the country. Apple won an injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 based on a community patent (roughly similar to a design patent in the U.S.) Apple asserted against the device.
Samsung had quickly responded to that loss in 2011 by releasing a variation on the device called the Galaxy Tab 10.1N. That variation was intended to differentiate the Samsung tablet enough from Apple’s iPad for it to no longer infringe on Apple’s community patent, and so far that appears to have been the case.
Wednesday’s story, however, is completely unrelated to the community patent or the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Instead, we have a new case where Apple was asserting, according to Bloomberg, “a patent granted last year protecting technology related to touch screens for tablets and smartphones.”
As part of its case, Apple was asking for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, but the courts rejected that request. While the case is still active, the courts specifically said that, “Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection.”
Commenting on the ruling at FOSS Patents, patent watcher Florian Mueller noted that preliminary injunctions based on complicated and highly technical patents in Germany are rare. In this case, however, not only was the prelim request rejected, the courts made it clear they don’t expect Apple’s patent to stand up to Samsung’s defense.