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1/20/2012
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Samsung Logs Apple Case Loss, Sales Win

Samsung suffers a setback in its legal fight with Apple in Germany, but sales of its flagship smartphone in Korea hit a huge milestone.

Smartphones: Never Too Thin Or Too Organic
Smartphones: Never Too Thin Or Too Organic
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Germany's Mannheim Regional Court has handed an initial loss to Samsung in its ongoing legal fight with rival Apple. The court ruled that Apple did not infringe on a Samsung patent regarding "essential" UMTS/3G technology found within the iPhone.

Samsung argued that Apple used the patented technology without the proper license. The court found otherwise, though didn't share the specifics behind its decision. FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller believes there are two likely reasons behind the court's decision: 1. Apple is infringing on the patent for technical reasons, or 2. the court thinks Samsung's rights over the patent have expired and Apple does in fact have a license to use them.

The reasoning behind the rejection is important, because it will impact the four other lawsuits--covering six more patents--that Samsung has filed against Apple in Germany.

[ Learn more about the legal battle between Apple and Samsung. Read Samsung Sues Apple (Again). ]

"If the reason for the rejection was technical non-infringement," explained Mueller, "Samsung's other assertions of 3G/UMTS patents in Germany could still succeed. However, if the reason was patent exhaustion, all but one of the four remaining Samsung lawsuits in Germany (one over two patents unrelated to 3G, including a smiley input patent) would likely be thrown out as well."

Apple has lawsuits pending against Samsung, as well, with six patents at question. The two companies have numerous lawsuits in countries around the world over patents and technology found in smartphones and tablets.

Meanwhile, in Samsung's home market of Korea, it recently passed a major milestone for its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone. Samsung has sold more than 5 million Galaxy S II smartphones there in the nine months since it launched. Samsung claims that few devices have reached such sales success in Korea. The company owns about 53% of the Korean smartphone market.

By way of comparison, Apple and its retail partners sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S devices the first weekend the phone was available for sale back in October. It has been a strong seller since. All signs point to a massive quarter for Apple with respect to iPhone sales. Apple is due to report its holiday-quarter earnings January 24.

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