FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Mobile phone maker Motorola achieved a rare victory against software giant Microsoft in a patent case before a German court on Friday, the latest in a wave of patent lawsuits by technology firms fighting over market share.

The regional court in Mannheim ruled that Motorola Mobility, part of Google, did not infringe a Microsoft patent which enables applications to work on different handsets.

This allows application developers to avoid writing separate codes for each handset saving time and development costs.

Germany has become a major battleground in the global patent war between makers of mobile phones, tablet computer devices and their operating software because court actions there have proved relatively cheap and quicker than in other jurisdictions.

Microsoft has won three patent cases against Motorola in Germany. As a result of these rulings, smartphones with the disputed technology are no longer available on the German market.

"This decision does not impact multiple injunctions Microsoft has already been awarded and has enforced against Motorola products in Germany," said David Howard, associate general counsel at Microsoft.

Google bought lossmaking Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year, in its largest acquisition ever, aiming to use the company's patents to fend off legal challenges against its Android mobile platform and expand beyond its software business.

Other technology companies have also invested billions of dollars in buying up patent portfolios that they can use against rivals.

Motorola could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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  • 'Pouring' File Transfer

    The HP TouchPad's "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqSm-pusG-g" target="_hplink">touch to share</a>" feature has nothing on this futuristic Apple patent, which illustrates Apple devices emmulating natural, real-world gestures. In the illustrated example above, an iPhone is tilted over an iPad in order to share files, the way you would do if you were "pouring" the data from one device into the other. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2011/0163944.html" target="_hplink">2010</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/07/apple-wants-to-beat-hps-webos-sharing-feature-with-something-cooler.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>

  • Head-Mounted Display

    Back in 2006, Apple filed a patent for a laser-based binocular display unit, which could attach to glasses, helmets, or goggles. In theory, users could plug the device into their iPod and watch videos via the head-mounted apparatus instead of on the tiny iPod display. This wearable system would also let the user remain mobile while enjoying media entertainment. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2008/0088937.html" target="_hplink">2006</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2008/04/apple-preparing-a-cool-ipod-visual-head-display-system.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>

  • Double-Sided iPhone

    This filing makes us wonder what it would be like to have an iPhone with separate displays on its front and back. If each display operated independently, then users could control navigation (or a table of contents) on one side while reading or watching video on the other. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2011/0175805.html" target="_hplink">2010</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/08/apple-thinks-that-youll-flip-over-a-future-generation-iphone.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>

  • 3D Holographic Projector

    Many technology companies are betting that 3D is the next big thing, and fortunately for Apple, it already has a few patents to its name. One such example is a desktop display system that projects a 3D hologram, rather than projecting a 2D image onto a flat screen. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7843449.html" target="_hplink">2006</a> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2008/03/apple-working-on-3d-holographic-projection-displays.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>

  • Solar-Powered MacBooks

    Using a reflector that captures light externally, future MacBook owners could enjoy using their laptops outside while harnessing the sun's natural energy to power the device. Apple's patent states that a "translucent surface may also serve to protect the rear face of the display screen from damage". <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2010/0073791.html" target="_hplink">2008</a></strong> <em>Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2010/03/solar-powered-macbooks-may-be-in-our-future.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a></em>

  • Inductive Chargers

    In one iteration of the system, users wrap earphone cables around a charging tower and place a conductive metal mesh on their device in order to power-up. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2011/0188677.html" target="_hplink">2010</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/08/apples-inductive-charging-patent-finally-surfaces.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>

  • Shape-Shifting iPods

    Picture this: an iPod Classic whose touch wheel can morph into a television remote keypad. Currently, input devices use a specific set of operations (such as buttons, keys, touch screens) to command a computer; but, a shape shifting configuration that can physically change interface topography could be a complete game-changer in consumer electronics. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2010/0162109.html" target="_hplink">2009</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2010/06/apple-introduces-the-incredible-shape-shifting-device-interface.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>

  • Liquidmetal Battery Power

    This patent would let Apple use liquidmetal, or "<a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7862957.html" target="_hplink">amorphous alloy</a>" collector plates for internal component fuel cells. <a href="http://www.cultofmac.com/apple-is-granted-its-first-liquidmetal-patent-exclusive/75486" target="_hplink">According to Cult of Mac</a>, this technology "could power mobile phones for more than 30 days without recharging and notebooks for 20 hours or more." <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7862957.html" target="_hplink">2004</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.cultofmac.com/apple-is-granted-its-first-liquidmetal-patent-exclusive/75486" target="_hplink">Cult of Mac</a>

  • 3D Gestures

    3D gesturing allows users to rotate objects on the touch screen, gain different perspectives, control color and texture, and more. This technology could be a breakthrough in computer-aided design applications and games. <strong>Filed: <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2011/0164029.html" target="_hplink">2010</a></strong> Source: <a href="http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/07/apples-wild-new-3d-gesturing-is-aimed-at-cad-avatar-creation-more.html" target="_hplink">Patently Apple</a>