Apple Wins Another Patent Fight Against Samsung in Germany, but Samsung Still Profits

Apple vs. SamsungUS$290 million here, another failed patent accusation there, and pretty soon it adds up to Samsung looking like a copycat with bad lawyers and/or a bad intellectual property strategy. I'm going with both.

Florian Mueller reported that the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany issued a stay in a patent infringement case Samsung had filed against Apple. Mr. Mueller also noted that this brings the sum total of Samsung SEP victories against Apple to precisely zero.

As a further fun note, the decision was handed down in Germany just eight hours after a jury awarded Apple US$290 million in damages for Samsung infringement on Apple patents in the U.S.

The patent in question is EP1679803, a "method for configuring gain factors for uplink service in radio telecommunication system." It is part of the 3G standard, but there is a parallel court case deciding an invalidation action before the Federal Patent Court of Germany.

In that case, the court has so far found that while an infringement by Apple was likely, the patent was also likely to be invalid. That led the Mannheim Regional Court to stay its case, where Samsung is seeking damages for Apple's infringement.

At the heart of all this mess is Samsung's efforts to demand unprecedented licensing fees from Apple based on its SEPs in order to force Apple to license its non-SEPs to Samsung. That strategy has failed, miserably, and has landed Samsung in the crosshairs of regulatory bodies in the U.S. and Europe concerned about SEP-abuse.

In this particular case, Samsung seems likely to not only fail to win a licensing fee for its patent, it's likely to have its patent declared invalid. Smooth move, Ex-lax.

And to think, had it simply not deliberately copied Apple's design and utility patents and asked for the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing fees for its SEPs—like it promised to do when it submitted those patents to standards bodies in the first place—it would be at least a billion dollars richer today...

Ah, that's the rub. Samsung wouldn't be richer. In fact, Samsung would be billions of dollars poorer, and that's because Samsung has made billions more in profits from copying Apple. That makes the loss of SEP royalties and $930 million damage awards just a cost of doing business.