Apple and Samsung patent cases dismissed

Apple iPad and Galaxy Tab Apple has been at war with Samsung over phone and tablet patents

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Apple and Samsung have both had patent lawsuits - taken out against each other - thrown out by a German court.

A spokesman for the Mannheim state court said judges had dismissed both cases involving ownership of the "slide-to-unlock" feature used on their respective smartphones.

Apple, Samsung and Motorola Mobility have been engaging in increasingly bitter patent fights around the world.

These have often resulted in temporary bans on key products.

For example, Apple won a patent dispute against Motorola Mobility regarding "slide-to-unlock" in Munich last month.

And Apple won a court decision in Australia to ban the sale of Samsung's Galaxy tablet in that country - a decision that was later overturned.

'Blatant copying'

An Apple spokesman in London told the BBC that the company would not comment, but referred to a previous statement where it accused Samsung of "blatant copying".

Samsung said: "We are disappointed that the court did not share our views regarding the infringement by Apple of this specific patent in Germany."

The company vowed to appeal against the dismissal of its lawsuit against Apple, and said a separate case regarding four alleged patent infringements was still pending in Mannheim.

"We will continue to assert our intellectual property rights and defend against Apple's claims to ensure our continued ability to provide innovative mobile products to consumers," it said.

Apple sells the best-selling iPhone and iPad devices, while Samsung sells a range of phones that use Google's Android software.

To complicate things further, search giant Google last year acquired Motorola Mobility - mainly for its patents.

Apple has accused Samsung of copying its design and infringing its patents.

For its part, Samsung has said that Apple infringed its 3G patents. It has sought a ban on sales of Apple's iPhone 4S in Australia, Japan, France and Italy.

Apple is expected to launch the iPad 3 later this month, which may set off another round of patent lawsuits.

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