Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), as has been well-documented here and elsewhere, has been fighting important intellectual-property legal battles in several courtrooms on several continents, and Germany has been a focal point for several months. There are indications from Germany that have come out recently that indicate that Apple may lose a battle it had fought to win on a preliminary basis.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had won a preliminary sales ban on several Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. devices in Germany because an initial lower-court proceeding had determined that Samsung had infringed on several Apple patents in their devices, mostly in the Galaxy family. However, the lower court decision was based on a preliminary proceeding, which is Germany is less thorough than a full hearing and court trial. It’s basically like a a hearing in the U.S. to determine whether there is enough probable cause to justify a trial, or a grand-jury hearing.
But now, as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is pushing for a permanent ban on Samsung device sales in the country, the judge in the Dusseldorf regional court is quoted as saying that if she were to rule on the case now, she’s likely to find that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s intellectual property. However, that final ruling isn’t due to come down for quite some time, as there are some legal snarls to work through with claims and counterclaims by both parties. As of now, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is banned in Germany and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is still banned in all of Europe until the German court reaches its final decision. Meanwhile, Samsung has filed counter-claims challenging the legitimacy of Apple’s three design patents that the company claims Samsung infringed.
There is obviously so much at stake between these companies that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung will likely go the full 12 rounds of this heavyweight bout, which could literally be called a world championship match of two tech heavyweights. To see Apple potentially lose a round in this battle that is originally won could change the landscape for Apple and for its investors – including hedge-fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management.