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Apple Loses German Court Ruling Against Samsung in Patent Suit

Apple Inc. lost a court ruling against Samsung Electronics Co. in Germany regarding claims the South Korean company’s Galaxy devices infringed patents on the iPhone maker’s touch-screen technology.

The Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Samsung didn’t violate Apple’s patents on features related to touch-screen technology, Jason Kim, a Seoul-based spokesman for the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Joachim Bock, a court spokesman, confirmed the ruling.

Samsung and Apple, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, have traded victories in their patent disputes fought over four continents since the Cupertino, California-based company last year accused Asia’s biggest electronics maker of “slavishly copying” its devices. The companies, competing for dominance of the global smartphone market estimated by Bloomberg Industries at $219 billion last year, are fighting patent battles even as Apple remains Samsung’s biggest customer.

“We welcome today’s ruling, which affirms our position that our products do not infringe Apple’s intellectual property,” Samsung said in a statement today. “We will continue to further develop and introduce products that enhance the lives of German consumers.”

The Mannheim judges also today rejected a bid by Apple regarding the same patent against Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility Holdings unit.

Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple in London, declined to comment on the court ruling.

California, Japan

Next to Munich and Dusseldorf, Mannheim is one of the three prime court venues in Germany where lawyers for Apple, Samsung, Motorola Mobility and Microsoft Corp. meet regularly in the current court fights.

A federal jury in San Jose, California, on Aug. 24 found the South Korean company copied the iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages. A week later in Japan, Apple lost a suit as a Tokyo judge ruled that Samsung smartphones and a tablet didn’t infringe on an Apple invention for synchronizing music and video data with servers.

Apple accounts for about 9 percent of Samsung’s revenue, making it the company’s largest customer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Today’s cases are LG Mannheim 7 O 337/11 (Apple v. Samsung) and 7 O 528/11 (Apple v. Motorola Mobility).

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