Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) received a legal blow - times two - late Friday in Germany, as the company celebrated its first day of iPhone 5 sales by ending up on the short end of a pair of patent-infringement verdicts in German courts against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Motorola Mobility, which is owned by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had filed claims against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Motorola Mobility that both companies had violated patents regarding touchscreen technology. However, the judges in Mannheim sided against Apple, saying that the two rivals did not infringe the patents. In a statement from Samsung: "We welcome today's ruling, which affirms our position that our products do not infringe Apple's intellectual property. We will continue to further develop and introduce products that enhance the lives of German consumers."
There has been no comment yet from either Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) on behalf of Motorola Mobility regarding the rulings. The worldwide battle for market share is also a worldwide courtroom battle over intellectual property, which has been on four continents so far. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have 30 days to appeal the decision, but it has recorded losses in European courtrooms in the Netherlands and Britain.
And this may give some momentum to Samsung, which has indicated intent to sue Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) over its iPhone 5, stating that in order for the iPhone 5 to be integrated into the 4G LTE networks, the smartphone would infringe on several Samsung patents. It's pretty clear that these lawsuits will go on for several more months, but for investors in Apple stock - like hedge-fund manager Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management LLC - they may want to see some more wins like the $1 billion judgment given to Apple in a U.S. court last month. By the way, Judge Lucy Koh is due to have a hearing regarding that judgment award later Friday.