TOKYO — Apple on 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.
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.
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 $1.3 million in damages, according to court documents. The Galaxy series of products in Japan is offered by NTT DoCoMo, the country's biggest mobile phone company.
Apple and Samsung are battling over the smartphone market, estimated 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 South Korea-based Samsung infringed on six of seven patents for mobile devices.
The Tokyo court also ruled out an injunction request by Apple to bar Samsung from offering eight models of Galaxy products in Japan, said Kenichi Hasegawa, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Samsung.
"This will likely turn the tide in favor of Samsung," said Kim Hyung-sik, Seoul-based analyst at Taurus Investment Securities. "Samsung had this win in a country that's strong at intellectual property. The mood is turning positive for Samsung."
In the United States, where Samsung had been barred from selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet, Apple has 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.