Apple-Samsung Patent Battles Rage On - InformationWeek
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9/19/2011
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Eric Zeman
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Apple-Samsung Patent Battles Rage On

Samsung plans to strike against the Apple iPhone 5, as the two tech titans bring new markets into their escalating lawsuit war.

The legal wrangling between Apple and Samsung has spread further around the globe in recent days. The companies have opened new fronts against one another in Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and other markets. Now, Samsung is looking to preemptively strike against a product that technically doesn't exist.

According to a report from the Korea Times, Samsung is looking to wage battle against Apple in Korea as soon as Apple gets around to announcing the iPhone 5.

"Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung's wireless technology related patents," reported the Korea Times, citing an unnamed senior executive from Samsung Electronics. "For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights."

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5 in the coming weeks, with availability to follow by mid-October.

[What are the most important new iPhone 5 features for IT to worry about.? See Apple Preps iOS 5 Final Release.]

The two companies have locked horns over smartphone and tablet patents and design issues. Apple started the patent war when it filed litigation against Samsung in the United States. in April. Samsung responded. The two companies have gone tit-for-tat in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Korea, Japan, and Australia.

Apple has won a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab in Germany. Samsung cannot distribute its Android tablet there. Apple also won another ban against some of Samsung's smartphones in the Netherlands, which extends to a handful of other European Union countries.

While proceedings are still underway in the United Kingdom, Korea, and Japan, Samsung has agreed to delay the debut of its tablet in the Land Down Under pending a resolution of the litigation with Apple. It filed a countersuit against Apple in Australia's federal court Friday. In this new complaint, Samsung alleges that Apple is violating seven different patents pertaining to wireless technologies in the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPad 2 products.

The growing number of lawsuits between the two companies could lead to trouble in the long term. Apple is Samsung's largest customer, and uses Samsung's chips, memory modules, and other components in a wide range of its products.

Samsung is not taking the litigation lightly. Samsung CEO Cjoi Gee-sung recently said, "Apple is Samsung's biggest customer. Hewlett-Packard (HP), Nokia, and Sony were Samsung's previous big clients, however, Apple is now a primary one. From our perspective, we are not entirely happy about the litigations."

I bet.

With fronts open in at least seven different countries and temporary sales bans already in place, this fight is going to get uglier before it gets prettier.

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