German Court Shuts Down Two Apple, Samsung Lawsuits

Apple and Samsung each saw one of their patent infringement lawsuits tossed out of court in Germany on Friday by Judge Andreas Voss. The ruling marks the third time a 3G/UMTS-related patent lawsuit has slipped through Samsung’s fingers in its legal battle with Apple, while the iPhone and iPad maker lost out on one of its swipe-to-unlock patent cases.

Apple still has a second swipe-to-unlock patent infringement case pending, which should get some kind of ruling on March 16. That case has a good chance of moving forward, especially since it relies on Germany’s utility model intellectual property rights model.

German court tosses out Apple and Samsung patent lawsuitsGerman court tosses out Apple and Samsung patent lawsuits

“Since utility models don’t undergo much scrutiny (it’s a formal rather than substantive examination), there’s no presumption of validity when they are used in litigation,” said Florian Mueller of Foss Patents. “In other words, the holder of a utility model can sue over it, but he has to prove that it’s valid, while German regional courts only stay patent infringement cases if there’s a high probability of invalidity.”

While Apple seems to be logging at least a few wins, Samsung keeps taking it on the chin in Germany. Mr. Mueller said,

Samsung still hasn’t been able to enforce any intellectual property right anywhere on this planet against Apple, while Apple has had some successes (though only preliminary ones so far, most of which were subsequently lifted). It lost all three cases that it brought in Mannheim last April in response to Apple’s first U.S. lawsuit against its Korean rival.

Samsung has also had to deal with an injunction in Germany from earlier this year that blocked the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 tablets. The company released  slightly modified versions of its tablets that worked around the injunction, and Apple wasn’t able to convince the German court to block those models as well.

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a legal battle over patent infringement claims for several months. Both companies have alleged that the other’s mobile devices use patented technologies without proper licensing, and have filed lawsuits against each other in the U.S. and other countries.

Today’s ruling isn’t, however, keeping Samsung down. The electronics maker has already said it plans to appeal the German court’s ruling, and Apple will presumably do the same with its swipe-to-unlock patent.