UK court invalidates three Samsung 3G patents

Patents were in dispute in Samsung cases against Apple

A U.K. court has invalidated three Samsung patents that cover 3G technology in two rulings in cases between Samsung and Apple, according to court filings published on Thursday.

Samsung alleged that Apple infringed on the patents with 3G-enabled devices, including the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 3G, according to court documents.

The High Court of Justice, Chancery Division Patents Court in London dealt with the case in two parts. The first part covered two of the patents and the second part concerned the third patent. Justice Christopher Floyd ruled all three Samsung patents invalid.

In the first case, Floyd dealt with the 726 and the 675 patent. The 726 patent is entitled "turbo encoding device and method for processing data according to QoS," or Quality of Service. The patent concerns an aspect of channel coding in a mobile telecommunications system using turbo codes, according to the judge. The patent is invalid because it is not entitled to the priority claimed by Samsung, he wrote. This basically means that the patent cannot be granted because the technology involved is similar to previously patented technology. In other words, it lacks an inventive step, said Rainer Osterwalder, director of media relations at the European Patent Office.

If valid, the 726 patent would have been infringed by Apple's UMTS compliant devices, Floyd wrote.

The 675 patent too is not entitled to the priority claimed and is therefore invalid based on Samsung's admission, Floyd said in his ruling. The patent at stake deals with an "apparatus and method for channel coding and multiplexing in a CDMA communication system" and is concerned with converting the output of channel coders into a form suitable for transmission on the physical channel, according to the verdict.

The third patent was the 404 patent, which describes a technology that is broadly concerned with the structuring of individual data streams that are transmitted simultaneously on the same frequency range from a mobile device to a base station, Floyd wrote.

"My overall conclusions are that the 404 patent as proposed to be amended is invalid both because it has lost priority and is accordingly rendered invalid by intervening prior art (on the basis of Samsung's concession) and because it is, in any event, obvious. If it had survived these attacks, it would have been infringed by Apple's accused, HSUPA enabled devices," Floyd wrote.

"We are disappointed by the court's decision. Upon a thorough review of the judgment, we will decide whether to file an appeal," said a Samsung spokeswoman in an emailed statement. "For decades, we have heavily invested in pioneering the development of technological innovations in the mobile industry, which have been constantly reflected in our products. We will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights," Samsung added.

Apple declined to comment on the verdict.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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