SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics shares rose early on Thursday after a Dutch court rejected most of the patent infringement claims by Apple, whose visionary chief executive Steve Jobs resigned, raising Samsung's hopes of closing the gap with the U.S. firm.
Apple argued that Samsung had infringed on three of its patents as well as design and copyrights, but the court ruled that Samsung smartphones Galaxy S, S II and Ace breached just one of the three patents, and found no infringement for Samsung's tablets.
Sales injunction on the three smartphone models in some European countries will not be effective until at least October 13 and the patent violation could be solved by making technical changes in the smartphones, the court said. This would then allow the sale of the smartphones.
Samsung is the nearest rival to Apple in smartphones and its shipments in the second quarter were just 1 million units short of Apple's 20.3 million unit sales, according to market data.
But it is a distant second in the booming tablet market.
By 0055 GMT, shares in Samsung, the world's biggest technology firm by revenue, rose 2.4 percent after rising as much as 4.2 percent. The stock topped the list of foreign investors' net buying of South Korean stocks on Thursday.
The stock was also lifted by news that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs had resigned. Some analysts said the departure of the visionary CEO could lead to an easing of legal disputes between Apple and Samsung and raised hopes that Samsung might be able to close the gap with the U.S. firm.
"Investors were concerned about whether Samsung will be able to continue to fare well in the smartphone market as Apple is growing market share," said Jeon Nam-joong, fund manager, Consus Asset Management.
"But Job's resignation will offer opportunities to Samsung for a longer term, although it will not have an immediate impact."
The two technology giants are locked in a bruising patent fight in the United States, Europe and Asia as they jostle for the top spot in the smartphone market after Nokia, the market leader for a decade, was ousted in the second quarter.
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Ju-min Park; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Ken Wills)