October 5, 2011
Samsung Seeks To Ban iPhone 4S Sales in France And Italy
In the next round of tit-for-tat patent and lawsuits between Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc., Samsung has announced it will file patent-infringement claims in France and Italy in hopes of banning the sale of Apple´s latest iPhone, Reuters is reporting.
The legal battle between the two top brands of mobile devices intensified yesterday when Apple announced the iPhone 4S, a significant upgrade to its best-selling smart phone expected to hit store shelves later this month.
In April of this year Apple claimed that Samsung´s Galaxy line of mobile devices "slavishly” copied the look and feel of the iPad and iPhone. The iPhone 4S adds to Apple´s previous and current mobile devices that Samsung claims infringed its wireless-technology patents.
The legal battles are powered by the $207 billion mobile-phone market, with Apple in competition with makers of smart phones powered by Google´s Android operating system. They have been to court against each other in 10 countries involving more than 20 cases since April.
Samsung is accusing Apple of not paying licensing fees for some of its patents before it started selling iPhones in 2007. Apple argues that Samsung never demanded a license fee until 2010 and before that Samsung remained silent because Apple is an important customer.
“It´s clearly part of this increasing mobile patent war that we´ve been seeing in recent months,” said James Cordwell, a London-based analyst at Atlantic Equities Service who rates Apple´s shares “overweight.”
“What´s at stake is your long-term strategic position. It´s less about the country-by-country blockade.”
Samsung lawyers said preliminary injunction requests for a ban on iPhone 4S sales will be filed today and involves two patent infringements per case related to its wireless technology. French and Italian laws allow companies to seek a ban on sales of a product even before it hits the market.
Samsung may appear to have more to lose over the entire series of lawsuits with its telecom and component businesses under fire from Apple´s lawyers. Apple is also Samsung´s biggest customer, buying chips and displays primarily, but buying them by the millions.
If Apple decided to find other manufacturers, this could seriously undermine Samsung earnings. Apple rejected an offer earlier this week to settle a tablet computer dispute in Australia, possibly choking off viability of the new Galaxy tablet in that market.
For those keeping score on the various legal battles, Samsung´s Galaxy tablets, powered by the Android operating system, have been blocked in Germany along with some smart phone models in the Netherlands.
Neil Young, a Samsung lawyer told Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett in Sydney yesterday that Samsung will abandon plans to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia if it doesn´t win approval to sell it in the next two weeks. Missing the Christmas season would result in the new tablet being “dead,” he said.
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