German Court Stays Apple Photo Gallery Patent Case

The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany has temporarily halted Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung over patent infringement claims related to the page flipping effect in photo galleries on mobile devices. The court imposed the stay on Friday to allow for a ruling on the validity of Apple’s patent, according to Foss Patents.

German court stays Apple patent case while waiting on validity rulingGerman court stays Apple patent case while waiting on validity ruling

The patent in question, EP2059868, describes a system for managing photos on portable electronic devices, and is a patent Apple has successfully defended against Motorola and Samsung in European courts. Both companies have since reworked their interfaces to avoid stepping on Apple’s patent.

The German court’s decision to halt court proceedings could be a step back for Apple. “German regional courts stay patent infringement lawsuits only if a defendant shows a high probability (80 percent or higher) of the patent being invalidated,” said Florian Mueller of Foss Patents.

Assuming the court rules that Apple’s patent is invalid, the company will lose one of its tools for potentially blocking companies from using Google’s Android OS to mimic iPhone and iPad features.

“Basically, every successful enforcement helps to draw a line in the sand that restricts Google’s ability to imitate Apple’s user interface and functionality,” Mr. Mueller said

Since the patent in question isn’t considered standards essential, however, so it won’t make or break Apple’s ongoing legal fight regardless of whether it is deemed invalid.

Apple hasn’t commented on the German court’s stay.