Apple Files Patent Suit Against Samsung in Seoul, Escalating Legal Dispute

Apple Inc. (AAPL) filed a patent lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. in South Korea, escalating the legal dispute between the two companies regarding designs and technologies used in their best-selling mobile devices.

The maker of the iPhone filed a suit with the Seoul Central District Court on June 22, according to a case record on the court’s website, which doesn’t provide details of Apple’s claims. Online news provider MoneyToday reported that Apple is alleging that Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone copied the iPhone 3 design.

The dispute began in April when Cupertino, California-based Apple sued Samsung in the U.S., claiming the Galaxy products “slavishly” imitated the designs and technologies used for the iPad and iPhone. Samsung, which supplies memory chips for Apple, retaliated with lawsuits in Seoul, Tokyo, Mannheim, Germany and the U.S.

“We will continue to actively defend and protect our intellectual property,” Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung said in an e-mailed statement.

When contacted by Bloomberg News today, Steve Park, a Seoul-based spokesman for Apple, referred to the company’s earlier statements. The company said on April 18 that Samsung “blatantly” copied its technologies and designs.

Apple’s April 15 complaint claims Samsung is infringing seven patents related to the way Galaxy devices’ touch screens understand user gestures, including selecting, scrolling, pinching and zooming. Samsung is also copying three patents on the design, including the flat black face of the iPhone and iPad, according to Apple.

As part of that suit, Samsung had asked a federal judge in the U.S. to order Apple to turn over samples of Apple’s forthcoming iPads and iPhones. It lost that bid on June 22.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jun Yang in Seoul at jyang180@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net;

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