Tokyo Verdict: Samsung Electronics did not Breach Apple’s Patent

Apple Inc. lost a patent lawsuit in Japan as a Tokyo judge ruled that Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones and tablet computers didn’t infringe on an Apple invention in the most recent decision of a global dispute.

Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and a tablet didn’t breach Apple’s patent related to synchronizing music and video data in devices to servers, Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji ruled today.

Apple and Samsung are battling over the smartphone market, estimated by Bloomberg Industries to be worth $219 billion last year, with patent disputes being litigated on four continents. Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict in the U.S. on Aug. 24, with a jury finding that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung infringed six of seven patents for mobile devices. The two companies are also bound by commercial deals involving components supply.

Apple, the maker of iPhones, sued Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, in Tokyo last year, claiming the Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S II infringed the patent on synchronization, and sought 100 million yen in damages, according to court documents. The Galaxy-series of products in Japan is offered by NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437), the country’s biggest mobile-phone company.

U.S., Korea Rulings

Samsung doesn’t provide sales figures for Japan. The company generated about 12 percent of its revenue from Asia, excluding South Korea and China, in the quarter ended June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cupertino, California-based Apple got 5.7 percent of its sales in Japan during the same period, according to the data.

Both companies were barred from selling some phones and tablet computers in South Korea on Aug. 24 when a Seoul Central District Court ruled they infringed each other’s patents.

Apple was ordered to stop selling the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 in South Korea, while Samsung must stop selling 12 products including the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II an Galaxy Tab. Apple was also ordered to pay Samsung 40 million won ($35,000) and the South Korean company must pay its U.S. rival 25 million won for the patent infringments.

In the U.S., where Samsung had been barred from selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet, Apple sought to extend the ban to eight models of Samsung smartphones following the jury verdict. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, has scheduled a Dec. 6 hearing for arguments on the potential bans.

Samsung retained its position as the world’s biggest seller of smartphones in the second quarter, holding about 35 percent of the market, Strategy Analytics said in July. Apple had the second slot with about 18 percent, according to the market researcher.

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