In the latest decision in a global patent dispute, a Japanese court ruled Friday that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. had not infringed patents held by Apple Inc.
 
The Tokyo District Court said Samsung had not infringed a patent related to the synchronizing of music and videos between devices and computer servers. Apple filed the suit last year, seeking $1.3 million in damages.The decision is the third ruling in just a week in a legal battle playing out in numerous jurisdictions across the globe, as the two companies wage a high-stakes battle for the top spot in the smartphone and tablet markets. 
 
On Aug. 24, the Seoul Central District Court ruled that both Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. infringed each other’s patents and ordered a halt to sales in South Korea of certain products from both companies. Both companies were ordered to pay nominal damages to each other. But also last Friday, in a case that garnered much greater attention, a jury in San Jose, Calif., awarded Apple $1.05 billion after deciding that Samsung had infringed a number of Apple patents and the trade dress on the iPhone and iPad.
 
Friday’s decision in Japan, however, was not a surprise given the typically conservative view on patents taken by the country’s judges, according to Yoshikazu Iwase, an intellectual property partner at Japanese firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune who is not involved in the case.
 
“I wouldn’t say they are anti-patents, but their priority is preciseness in the scope of the patent coverage,” he said.
 
Iwase said he expected Apple to appeal to Japan’s IP High Court, and that a reversal was possible. 
 
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu served as counsel for Samsung, with partners Ryoichi Mimura and Masato Tanaka taking the lead. Counsel for Apple could not be identified at press time.

Email: tbrennan@alm.com.