In matters of patents, Japan is a lot kinder to Samsung than the United States was.

A Tokyo judge today ruled that Samsung’s devices do not violate Apple’s patent for synchronizing media files between devices.

Apple wanted $1.3 million in damages from Samsung, but it’s Samsung that ended out on top. And in another win for Samsung, the Tokyo District court even ordered Apple to pay Samsung’s legal fees.

Samsung applauded the ruling. “We welcome the court’s decision, which confirmed our long-held position that our products do not infringe Apple’s intellectual property. We will continue to offer highly innovative products to consumers, and continue our contributions towards the mobile industry’s development,” the company said in a statement.

Samsung’s victory appears to have hinged on something quite tiny: Unlike Apple’s file length-based media synchronization methods, Samsung’s own distinguishes files by their name and size. This difference countered the claims that Samsung was violating Apple’s patents.

Samsung investors welcomed the victory, pushing up the company’s stock nearly 2 percent after the news.

While the court decision is a small one in the grand scheme of things, it’s a big win for Samsung, which was legally trounced in a U.S. District court last week. What the Japan decision means for future litigation isn’t yet known, but we can almost guarantee that Samsung feels really good about it right now.

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