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German court delays Apple's slide-to-unlock lawsuit

MANNHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - A German court suspended a trial in which Apple alleged that Samsung Electronics copied the slide-to-unlock technology of its iPhone and iPad devices pending the outcome of a separate suit.

The regional court in Mannheim, Germany, said on Friday it would wait for a decision in ongoing proceedings in a Munich court over the feature, which allows users to switch on a device by swiping over the touch-screen.

The pending decision by the Mannheim court relates to the slide-to-unlock utility model, which is similar to a patent but has a shorter term, and comes two weeks after the same court dismissed a suit on the technology's patent.

Apple is also locked in a separate legal battle over the slide-to-unlock patent with Motorola Mobility.

The case is among a flurry of intellectual property disputes brought to courts in Germany, as well as other countries around the world, as makers of smartphones and tablets compete for a market worth billions of dollars.

Apple first sued Samsung almost a year ago, claiming that the maker of the Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copied Apple's iPhone and iPad models.

Apple is also involved in patent battles with other smartphone makers using Google's free Android platform, the fastest growing mobile operating system, which is also used on Samsung's Galaxy range.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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