The ruling comes only days after Apple filed another lawsuit to ban the Galaxy S II smartphone in Germany.
A judge from the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany ruled that Samsung's claim regarding Apple's 3G/UMTS wireless communication patent violation is not valid.
Apple and Samsung's patent war began back in April 2011 when Apple claimed Samsung was an "iPhone, iPad copycat." More specifically, Apple said the Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G and Nexus smartphones infringed on Apple patents.
Apple worked its fingers to the bone to ban Samsung's smartphones and tablets around the world, and successfully did so in countries like Australia and Germany. However, Samsung began launching a few patent suits of its own to retaliate and keep its property safe from Apple's harm. Samsung was able to lift the ban on its popular Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia in December 2011.
The two tech giants flung lawsuits back and forth through much of 2011, and it doesn't look like 2012 will be much different. Today, Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Samsung's claim against Apple, which is one of three pertaining to the 3G/UMTS wireless communication patent violation complaints in Germany, is invalid. Judge Voss did not mention why the claim was void. According to Florian Mueller, independent patent expert, two possible reasons could be that Apple's products didn't infringe on the patent in a technical sense or that the court believes Samsung's rights are "exhausted," while Apple has a technical license by extension.
"We are disappointed that the court did not share our views regarding the infringement by Apple of this specific patent in Germany," said Samsung.
The other two patent infringement claims against Apple regarding 3G/UMTS wireless communication will be determined on January 27 and March 2.
"This ruling related to only one of 13 patents that are currently in suit between those parties in Germany, and dozens of patents on a worldwide basis," said Mueller. "It's not the first rejection of a complaint involving these two players, and barring a major surprise, it won't be the last."
However, Samsung's technology isn't the only one at stake with these Apple-related patent wars. Android, which is Google's mobile operating system that runs on Samsung's mobile hardware, could stand to lose too. Just last month, the United States International Trade Commission ruled that some smartphone features are protected by Apple, such as the ability to tap a phone number within a text or email and call that person directly, and the ability to schedule a calendar appointment with the tap of a finger on a date in an email. These features, which are common throughout most smartphones now, could really hurt Android if Apple succeeds. However, most of these features require trivial changes that can work around Apple's constant griping.
The latest patent ruling comes only days after Apple filed its most recent lawsuit against Samsung in Germany, asking that the court ban Samsung's Galaxy S ll smartphone as well as nine other smartphones and five tablets.