Samsung Electronics Co. sued Apple Inc. in Japan and Australia to stop sales of the iPhone 4S, escalating a legal battle between the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones and tablet computers.
Samsung also sought injunctions against the sale of the iPad 2 and the previous generation iPhone 4 in Japan, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement today. Samsung claimed Apple’s products infringe its patents covering wireless communications and user-interface technologies.
Legal conflicts between the rivals have spread globally since April when Apple claimed that Samsung’s Galaxy devices “slavishly” copied the iPad and iPhone. An Australian court last week blocked sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, while Samsung filed motions in France and Italy seeking to ban sales of Apple’s latest handset.
“The legal battle is lasting longer and is more extensive than originally expected,” James Song, a Seoul-based analyst at Daewoo Securities Co., said by phone today. “This kind of legal saga isn’t good for both companies given their business relationship. The parties will eventually seek to resolve the issue.”
Samsung rose 0.5 percent to close at 890,000 won in Seoul trading, trimming its decline to 6.2 percent this year. Apple’s stock has added 31 percent this year on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
“Apple has continued to violate our patent rights and free ride on our technology,” Samsung said in the statement. “We will no longer stand idly by and will steadfastly protect our intellectual property.”
Apple, which is also one of the biggest buyers of chips and displays from Samsung, had 19.1 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, with its South Korean rival closing the gap and taking 16.2 percent, according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher IDC.
“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” Steve Park, a Seoul-based spokesman for Apple, said by phone today, responding to the court filing.
Apple is also suing Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC Corp. in the U.S., alleging patent infringement. Samsung and HTC both use Google Inc.’s Android platform, which has extended its lead in smartphone operating systems over Apple’s iOS with 43 percent of the market, according to Gartner Inc. Apple’s iOS leads the market for tablet platforms, while Android will close the gap in coming years, Gartner said.
Samsung filed motions in Paris and Milan earlier this month citing two patent infringements on wireless telecommunications technology, aiming to prevent the sale of the iPhone 4S.
The company has filed an appeal against an Oct. 13 Australian court ruling to grant a preliminary injunction against the sale of its Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung said in today’s statement.
Samsung filed the latest preliminary injunction motions in Japan’s Tokyo District Court and in the New South Wales Registry, Australia, it said.