It was a pretty big deal when the jury handed Apple the victory in their patent dispute with Samsung. It was a rarity, however, as Samsung has won the majority of its patent disputes with Apple around the world. They can now add Japan to their list of victories.
Bloomberg reports that a Japanese court ruled today that Samsung didn't infringe on Apple's patent for "synchronizing music and video data with servers." The judge ordered Apple to pay Samsung's legal fees, and that's about it. If would have been a very different story if Samsung had lost.
Apple was originally seeking damages to the amount of 100 million yen ($1.3 million). The company claimed that Samsung's Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S II infringed on their patents. The Galaxy S II is among the models that Apple hopes to see banned in the U.S. following their U.S. court victory.
The latest ruling follows a series of wins for Samsung in courts around the world. Samsung recently "won" a patent dispute in South Korea. By win, I mean that Samsung and Apple both lost with both companies having products banned from sale in the country. The court ruled that both companies violated each other's patents.
One of the more humorous wins was when Apple was ordered by a U.K. court to place ads in newspapers saying the Galaxy Tab didn't infringe on their patents. The rest of Europe wasn't as kind to Samsung, however, as a German court banned the Galaxy Tab 7.7 from being sold in 27 countries.
Going back to the win in Japan, it highlights the issues that Japan and Samsung are both going to face over the next few months. Each country has their own patent laws and views on patent laws. What may work in Germany or the U.S. in Apple's favor may not work out for them in other countries. Of course, we're all waiting for at least one ruling that calls out both companies for using patents as tools of litigation instead of as tools of innovation. Unfortunately, it seems that we might be waiting a while for a ruling in favor of common sense.