It seems the patent battles between Samsung Electronics and Apple will not be decided by law but by the world markets after courts in several countries refused to give either side much of an advantage.
The Mannheim regional court in Germany last Friday dismissed a claim by Apple that the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet PC infringed on its patent. It was the first decision in Germany in a total of six patent lawsuits Apple had filed against Samsung there since last year.
Currently, the two companies are engaged in about 30 patent lawsuits in nine countries including Germany, Australia, the U.S., Japan, and Korea.
In the Mannheim court, Apple claimed that Samsung violated its patent on a "slide-to-unlock" feature on smartphones. The same court last month ruled in favor of Apple in a similar patent suit against Motorola but it said Samsung's technology is sufficiently different.
But the court the same day also ruled in favor of Apple in a different patent suit brought by Samsung. Samsung had claimed that Apple infringed patented technology reducing errors that occur in the process of transmitting data online.
A Samsung executive said, "We're going to appeal to a higher court to prove Apple's infringement of our patented technology." The Mannheim court also rejected two suits Samsung filed against Apple over communications technology patents last year.
With the German court rejecting suits filed by both sides, Samsung and Apple can now keep selling their smartphones and tablet PCs. The rulings will likely affect similar proceedings in other countries.
Five patent suits Apple has filed against Samsung are still pending in Germany, and Samsung is still awaiting decisions on four suits against Apple. "The battles between the two sides will be decided by consumers, not in the courts," an industry expert predicted.