Just a week after dismissing one of Samsung’s patent infringement suits against Apple, A court in Mannheim, Germany has done it again, dismissing a second suit from Samsung against Apple that claimed Apple infringed on the company’s 3G/UMTS technology. As before, the court gave no reason for its ruling.
Although the dismissals are a blow to Samsung’s legal battle against Apple, in a broader context they amount to little more than a couple of potshots in a much wider war. Samsung and Apple have patent infringement cases pending against each other in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States, and the two suits dismissed in Mannheim, Germany, are comparatively small concerns in the broader set of complaints between the two companies. It doesn’t even mark an end to Samsung’s cases against Apple in Mannheim: Samsung is suing Apple for violating three other 3G/UMTS patents in Germany alone, along with two other patents not related to mobile communications standards—including the infamous emoticon claim.
Although no reasons for the dismissal were given, general consensus is that if the court doubted the validity of the patents, it would have granted a stay for examination, rather than dismissing the suits altogether. Other possibilities include the court concluding Apple did not infringe on the technologies, or that Samsung’s rights to assert the patents against Apple have been exhausted.
Altogether, Samsung and Apple are currently having trouble landing blows against each other in their disputes. However, as Florian Mueller points out in his invaluable FOSS Patents blog, that’s hardly likely to slow down either company, since they’re both swimming in money and can afford to continue litigation indefinitely.