Japan court to rule on Apple-Samsung patent brawl

A Japanese court on Friday will issue a ruling in a bitter patent dispute between Apple and its South Korean rival Samsung, the latest case in a global battle between the two technology giants.

The decision comes a week after the iPhone maker won more than $1.0 billion in a massive US court victory over Samsung with jurors finding that the South Korean firm had "willfully" infringed on Apple's patents.

The Tokyo District Court is due to rule on Apple's claim that Samsung illegally copied technology from its iPhone and iPad computer for some of its Galaxy smartphones and tablet.

Both firms' offerings are increasingly popular in Japan, where the market is also flooded with products made by domestic giants such as Sony and Sharp.

Apple is seeking 100 million yen ($1.27 million) in compensation from Samsung's Japanese units, and has accused it of stealing technology used to transfer music and video files, according to Jiji Press.

In the judgement expected later Friday, the Japanese court will issue its opinion on the patent infringement claims, while monetary damages, if any, will be decided in a later verdict.

Samsung has steadfastly denied its rival's claims in a string of similar cases filed across the globe.

The high-profile verdict in the United States last week affects patents on a range of Samsung products including some of its popular smartphones and its Galaxy 10 tablet.

Jurors rejected the South Korean electronics firm's patent theft counterclaims against Apple.

Samsung has pledged to keep fighting the case, and said that if it stands "it will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices".

Also last week, a court in Seoul ruled the pair had swiped each other's technology and awarded damages to both sides.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled Apple breached two of Samsung's technology patents, and ordered it to pay 40 million won ($35,000) in damages.

It also ordered Samsung to pay 25 million won for violating one of Apple's patents. Each company had sought damages of 100 million won from the other.

The judges said there was "no possibility" that consumers would confuse Samsung and Apple smartphones -- a key issue in the US trial -- and that Samsung's smartphone icons do not infringe Apple's patents.

But it said Samsung infringed Apple's patent for bounce-back technology. Apple's signature bounce-back design is the widely copied spring-back behaviour that occurs when a user reaches the edge of a document.

The court imposed a partial ban on product sales in South Korea of Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2, as well as Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy S II among other products.

Apple shares soared to a record high while Samsung's stock slumped in the wake of the huge US damages award.

"If the (Japanese) verdict rules that Samsung violated patent rights, it would have a significant impact on Samsung," said Michiru Takahashi, a patent lawyer at Jones Day in Tokyo.

"But if the verdict does not recognise a violation... Samsung will regain momentum," she added.

The patent cases could shake up the sizzling market for mobile devices in which Apple has been losing ground to rivals including Samsung that use the Android operating system developed by Google.

A survey by research firm IDC showed Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones globally in the April-June period, while Apple sold 26 million iPhones. IDC said Samsung held 32.6 percent of the market to 16.9 percent for Apple.

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