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Slide-to-unlock patent case thrown out of court

A German court has dismissed cases both Apple and Samsung brought against each other. Better luck next time, chaps.

Just a couple of weeks after Apple won a patent case against Motorola for its slide-to-unlock feature, a German court has thrown out a similar case against Samsung, the BBC reports.

Apple and Samsung had both taken out cases against each other, and both have been dismissed, a spokesman for the Mannheim state court told the BBC. Both cases concerned who owns the slide-to-unlock feature. 

But Apple's ban on Motorola phones using the feature should still stand, as that was decided in a Munich court. The court ruled in Apple's favour in two out of three of the disputes -- only the Xoom was exempt, as its slide-to-unlock feature is subtly different.

An Apple spokesperson in London refused to comment on the issue when pressed by the BBC, but referred to a previous statement in which Apple accused Samsung of "blatant copying". A Samsung spokesperson said: "We are disappointed that the court did not share our views regarding the infringement by Apple of this specific patent in Germany."

Samsung will appeal the dismissal, and another, separate case is still pending.

Samsung actually supplies parts for the iPhone, but that doesn't stop the two going at it tooth and nail in the courts. Apple succeeded in having the Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in Germany, but the company redesigned the tablet and it was deemed fit for sale.

Tech companies take patent cases to Germany because the courts there rule much quicker than in other countries, so it's handy to slap a quick ban on competitor's products. Hopefully this ruling will make them cut down on these kinds of cases.

Is all this fighting in the courts really necessary? Are the companies deadly serious, or just trying to knock each other down a peg or two? Let me know below, or on our Facebook page.