RPT-Setback for Apple in German patent case

Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:04am EDT

FRANKFURT, Sept 21 (Reuters) - A German court ruled against Apple Inc in two patent cases against Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility, owned by Google .

The Mannheim court ruled that Samsung and Motorola didn't infringe a technology related to touch-screen functions.

The ruling came as customers queued at Apple stores across the world to buy the new version of the company's iPhone.

The touch-screen technology is used in a number of applications running on Google's mobile platform Android. Industry analysts had feared a ruling in favour of Apple could have a wider impact on the smartphone industry.

Samsung said in a statement it welcomed the ruling, while Apple declined to comment.

Motorola could not immediately reached for comment.

Last month Apple scored a landmark legal victory over Samsung when a U.S. jury found the Korean company had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

Technology companies have invested billions of dollars in buying up patent portfolios that they can use against rivals and have also ploughed money into litigation in the United States and Europe.

Germany has become a major battleground in the global patent war between makers of mobile phones, tablet computer devices and their operating software, as court actions there have proved to be relatively cheap and speedier than in other jurisdictions.

Last week a court in Munich ruled that Motorola had infringed Apple's "overscroll bounce" technology patent, which enables users to move documents over the screen of their device and let them bounce back to the centre after releasing their fingers.