Samsung sues to ban iPhone 4S sales in Japan, Australia


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Samsung Electronics has reportedly sued Apple Inc. in Japan and Australia in an effort to ban the sale of the new iPhone 4S.

The suits are the latest move in an international patent battle between the two tech titans that is also taking place across Europe, the U.S. and Samsung’s home nation of South Korea.


In the Japanese suit, Samsung also called for a court-ordered halt to iPad 2 and iPhone 4 sales, according to a report from Bloomberg News detailing the court action.

In both the Japanese and Australian suits, Samsung accuses Apple of infringing on a number of its patents relating to user interface and wireless technologies, Bloomberg said.

The Japanese suit is also partly in response to Apple suing Samsung in Japan last month. In Apple’s Japanese suit, it requested a sales injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy S II smartphones.

The complaints in the suits between the two companies remain consistent -- they’re both accusing each other of infringing on their respective patent portfolios. Apple has gone so far as to say in multiple suits that Samsung’s Galaxy phone and tablet products copy the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad.

So far, neither party has won any court cases outright. But last week an Australian court issued a preliminary sales injunction stopping the sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, something Apple had requested in its patent suit with Samsung there. Samsung had stopped selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in August until its dispute with Apple could be settled. Samsung has since filed an appeal against the Australian court injunction, Bloomberg said.

“We are disappointed with this ruling and Samsung will take all necessary measures including legal action in order to ensure our innovative products are available to consumers,” Samsung said in a blog post reacting to the court-ordered sales stoppage of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia last week.

“Our wireless standard patents are essential for mobile business. We will continue to legally assert our intellectual property rights against those who violate Samsung’s patents and free ride on our technology,” Samsung said.

A court in the Netherlands last week threw out Samsung’s request for a sales injunction against all of Apple’s mobile devices, according to a report from Reuters.

In September, Samsung reportedly made an offer to Apple that would have ended its patent suit in Australia, but Apple shot the settlement proposal down.

Samsung also filed patent suits against the iPhone 4S in France and Italy this month that sought sales bans of the new phone there as well.

So far, Apple has won a sales freeze against the Samsung’s Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Ace smartphones in 30 European countries. A court-ordered preliminary injunction has also been placed on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 7.7 in Germany.

Although Apple and Samsung seem willing to throw suits and lawyers at each other in courtrooms across the globe, the rivals are also business partners on the very products at the center of the suits. Samsung, for example, manufactures Apple’s A4 and A5 processors found in the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPod Touch, among other components found inside of Apple’s i-devices.

All of Samsung’s Galaxy phones and Galaxy Tab tablets run on Google’s Android mobile operating system. Apple’s iPhone and iPad run the company’s proprietary iOS software.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles