A Munich court casts doubt on the validity of an Apple scrolling patent
The Munich Regional Court rejected Apple’s claim that the Samsung devices infringed its patents in the latest leg of a worldwide legal battle between the two companies.
“Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection,” ruled presiding Judge Andreas Mueller.
The patent at the centre of this particular case is believed to protect the technology that shows users when they have reached the scrolling limit of a page. Analyst Florian Mueller said that the patent related to “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display” and said that it was “relatively surprising” that the court doubted its validity.
“This is a patent that a court can easily understand, as opposed to one raising complicated technical issues (which is what many patents related to wireless telecommunications standards do),” commented Mueller. “Only patents that a court can easily evaluate lend themselves to preliminary injunction bids.”
“Courts don’t have time to go into intricate patent claims within that framework,” he added. But such patents are also at a particularly high risk of being invalid, or of being considered likely to be invalid, which is what apparently happened here.”
The ruling comes just one day after a court in Dusseldorf declined to overturn the ban on the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany that was imposed in September last year. It was this ban that prompted Samsung to manufacture a modified version of the tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, that then became the centre of patent litigation from Apple.
Although Samsung seems to have won the right to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, it has not had it all its own way in recent days as the European Union has announced it was going to launch an investigation to ascertain whether the Korean manufacturer is illegally attempting to hinder its competitors through patent litigation.