Japan rules Samsung didn’t infringe Apple patent

The latest country to rule on whether Samsung’s been infringing an Apple patent, Japan, has decided that it didn’t.

Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji said it was ‘hard to believe’ that Samsung was using Apple technologies.

He denied a request by Apple for an injunction banning the sale of eight Galaxy models in the country, and ruled that Apple should pay the costs of the lawsuit.

In this case, the patent concerned covers the synching of media devices; other lawsuits in the country are still pending. But the decision gives Samsung a small boost at a time when it’s doing rather badly in its legal battle with Apple elsewhere.

Last week, a US court ruled that Samsung had infringed several patents, awarding it $1.05 billion in compensation,and it’s now possible that eight Samsung products could be blocked from sale in the US as a result.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit in South Korea, in which it was ruled that both companies were infringing each other’s patents, could see devices from both companies banned.

But this latest victory for Samsung, says patent expert Florien Mueller, is ‘chicken-feed’ when seen in context.

“The drop-out rate in this game is very high. IF a company files a lawsuit over X number of patents, it doesn’t realistically expect to prevail on every single one of them,” he says.

“Things didn’t get better for Apple. They didn’t get worse for Samsung. But Apple has far too many patents that avoiding liability for one of them (provided that the appeals court affirms) helps Samsung.”