Apple Loses Bid to Ban Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N, Nexus Phone

Apple Inc. failed to get a preliminary ban on sales of Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy 10.1N and Galaxy Nexus mobile phone from a German court.

The Munich Regional Court rejected the motion today, in a case where Apple invoked a patent granted last year protecting technology related to touch screens for tablets and smartphones.

“Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection,” Presiding Judge Andreas Mueller said when delivering the ruling.

The decision comes a day after a Dusseldorf appeals court upheld Apple’s request to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the predecessor model. Samsung began selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, a revised version, in Germany to get around the ban. A lower Dusseldorf court is scheduled to rule next week on a separate case Apple filed over the Galaxy 10.1N. Samsung lost two patent rulings against its rival in a Mannheim court last month.

The European Commission announced yesterday it will investigate whether Samsung broke a 1998 commitment to license any standard essential patents for phones on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.” The action followed litigation filed by Samsung last year in European courts over the patents, the EU said.

Tablets, Smartphones

The legal battle between Cupertino, California-based Apple and its closest competitor in tablet computers is intensifying as an increasing number of consumers use tablets and smartphones to visit websites, play games and download music.

Neither Samsung nor Apple immediately replied to e-mails seeking comment on today’s case.

The patent at issue today protects technology that shows users when they reach the scrolling limit of a page. The decision relied on the likelihood that Samsung could get the patent revoked at the European patent Office, which had granted the intellectual-property protection.

Peter Chrocziel, an Apple lawyer, argued at the hearing that the technology Samsung claimed was known before the iPad maker’s patent was filed didn’t contain the same solution because it didn’t provide the same experience for the user.

Samsung lawyer Henrik Timmann argued the court shouldn’t be allowed to issue a preliminary ban as long as a nine month deadline for contestation for the patent hasn’t been elapsed.

Judge Mueller said he and his two colleagues on the bench don’t follow the jurisprudence of the courts in Dusseldorf and Mannheim, which don’t typically grant emergency requests over recent patents.

“We don’t share the idea that young patents are less valuable than those who have survived for a longer period of time,” said Mueller. “We don’t think that would be in line with European rules of enforcing IP rights.”

Today’s case is LG Muenchen 21 O 26022/11.

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