TOKYO — Apple Friday lost a patent lawsuit in Japan as a Tokyo judge ruled that Samsung Electronics smartphones and a tablet computer didn’t infringe on an Apple invention for synchronizing music and video data with servers.
Apple was ordered by Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji to pay costs of the lawsuit after his verdict, the latest decision in a global dispute between the technology giants over patents used in mobile devices.
“It’s hard to believe the products belong to the range of technologies of the claimant,” Shoji said in dismissing Apple’s case.
Apple and Samsung are battling over the smartphone market, estimated by Bloomberg Industries to be worth $219 billion last year, with patent disputes being litigated on four continents. Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict in the United States on Aug. 24, with a jury finding that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung infringed six of seven patents for mobile devices. The two companies are also bound by commercial deals involving components supply.
Apple, the maker of iPhones, sued Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones, in Tokyo last year, claiming the Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S II infringed the patent on synchronization, and sought 100 million yen ($1.3 million) in damages, according to court documents. The Galaxy series of products in Japan is offered by NTT DoCoMo Inc., the country’s biggest mobile-phone company.
Samsung welcomed the decision, the company said in a statement. Carolyn Wu, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment.
The Tokyo court also ruled out an injunction request by Apple to bar Samsung from offering 8 models of Galaxy products in Japan, said Kenichi Hasegawa, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Samsung.
Shares of the South Korean company rose as much as 1.6 percent after the ruling, reversing an earlier decline, and closed 1.5 percent higher at 1.233 million won in Seoul.
Samsung doesn’t provide sales figures for Japan. The company generated about 12 percent of its revenue from Asia, excluding South Korea and China, in the quarter ended June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple got 5.7 percent of its sales in Japan during the same period, according to the data.
“This will likely turn the tide in favor of Samsung,” said Kim Hyung-sik, Seoul-based analyst at Taurus Investment Securities Co. “Samsung had this win in a country that’s strong at intellectual property. The mood is turning positive for Samsung.”
Samsung’s method of synchronizing multimedia content between mobile devices and computers installed with its Kies software doesn’t infringe a patent held by Apple, the Japanese court said in a statement.
The software distinguishes a file by its name and size, contrary to Apple’s claim it uses other information such as the length of content to recognize which files need synchronizing, according to the statement.
NTT DoCoMo will keep making efforts to prevent patent disputes, Naoko Minobe, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based carrier, said by phone Friday.
Both companies were barred from selling some phones and tablet computers in South Korea on Aug. 24 when a Seoul Central District Court ruled they infringed each other’s patents.
Apple was ordered to stop selling the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 in South Korea, while Samsung must stop selling 12 products including the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab. Apple was also ordered to pay Samsung $35,000 and the South Korean company must pay its U.S. rival for the patent infringments.
In the United States, where Samsung had been barred from selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet, Apple sought to extend the ban to eight models of Samsung smartphones following the jury verdict. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., has scheduled a Dec. 6 hearing on Apple’s request.