Samsung, Motorola Beat Apple Touch Patent Claim In Germany

Intellectual Property Infringement San Diego – A German court ruled Friday that Android devices made by Samsung Electronics Co. and Google Inc.-owned Motorola Mobility LLC do not infringe an Apple Inc.-held European patent for a touch-sensitive interface.

Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that Samsung and Motorola do not infringe because Android does not store a multi-touch “flag” in association with each user interface component, patent blogger Florian Mueller reported Friday.

European Patent Number EP2098948, titled “Touch event model,” relates to multi-touch devices in general, and more specifically to recognizing single and multiple point and touch events in multi-point and multi-touch devices.

The European patent at issue is broader and relates to the general way Android reports touch events to applications, in contrast to the more specific touch patents Apple asserted against Samsung in the much-publicized U.S. case that recently yielded a $1 billion infringement verdict against Samsung, Mueller wrote.

“Apple would obviously like to maximize its leverage over its rivals and win an injunction over a broad patent, or even a ‘killer patent’,” he wrote. “Some of the patents Apple is asserting in different jurisdictions could have that effect, and the touch event model patent would have caused far greater problems to Google’s Android operating system than any single-gesture patent ever could.”

The same non-infringement argument Judge Voss adopted has been embraced by courts in the U.K. and the Netherlands. The High Court of England and Wales actually rejected the same Apple patent as invalid in a ruling earlier this year, in Apple’s infringement case against HTC Corp. there.

Another German regional court in Munich ruled last week that Samsung does, in fact, infringe a different Apple-held European patent for its operating system’s bounce back effect, or “rubber-banding,” patent, giving Apple the opportunity to enforce an injunction against Samsung’s sales in Germany.

Motorola also suffered a European patent defeat in Germany on Thursday, when a regional court ruled that it has infringed a Microsoft Inc. patent for a software input system widely used in Android devices. Motorola is the only major maker of Android devices that has not already licensed the patented technology from Microsoft.

Microsoft recently won two other German injunctions against Motorola, one over a text message layer patent and one concerning a file system patent.




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