Samsung's 3G patent ruled invalid in Germany

Samsung can appeal the ruling but is not sure if it will do so

A patent that Samsung considers essential to the 3G standard was invalidated by the German Federal Patent Court that ruled in favor of Apple.

Apple challenged the validity of the patent in suit that describes a technology that relates to a device and method for encoding and decoding channel data in a mobile communication system. The patent was declared invalid in its entirety on Wednesday, the court said in a news release on Thursday.

The court did not immediately respond to a request for comment and did not provide information as to why the patent was invalidated.

Samsung will thoroughly review the decision before it decides if it will file an appeal, a company spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "We will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights," she said.

Apple declined to comment on the ruling.

The same patent was also ruled invalid by the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division Patents Court in London in March, along with two other 3G related Samsung patents.

In that case, the patent was invalidated because it is not entitled to the priority claimed by Samsung. This basically means that the patent cannot be granted because the technology involved is similar to previously patented technology, and lacks an inventive step.

Earlier this month, the German Federal Patent Court invalidated an Apple patent for the slide-to-unlock feature on mobile phones. This ruling can be appealed by Apple, but the company hasn't said if it would do so.

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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