More artillery build-up in the battle between Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Samsung. Just days after Apple released its newest handset, the iPhone 4S, to waiting crowds and strong demand, Samsung made good on its word (and our own prediction) and added another two cases to its growing list of injunction requests against Apple products. The Korean handset maker has filed cases against Apple and requested iPhone 4S injunctions in Japan and Australia, citing violations to its technology and user interface patents.
The newest filings, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, also asked the courts to halt sales of the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 in Japan.
These efforts, which a Samsung spokesperson confirmed to the WSJ, are the latest in a series of counterattacks being made by Samsung against Apple worldwide. Apple has been suing Samsung for patent infringements in some 20 markets concerning the design of several of its Android-based products, both in smartphones and tablets, and Samsung is fighting back.
So far, Apple has succeeded in getting injunctions on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany and Australia — with the latter ruling potentially scuppering Samsung’s ability to sell that device in Australia altogether. But Samsung has avoided injunctions on several of its smartphones in the Netherlands by modifying its software; and it has so far missed any injunctions on its tablets and smartphones in the key market of the U.S.
Today’s filings are the latest that Samsung has made against Apple in the wake of the launch of the iPhone 4S. Less than 24 hours after Apple first debuted the smartphone — which in appearance is exactly like the iPhone 4 but in reality has several new features, including a faster processor, new antenna architecture and the potentially game-changing Siri voice-powered “assistant” — Samsung filed cases in both France and Italy requesting injunctions of the device.
While Apple’s claims against Samsung relate variously to hardware design and aspects of the user interface and user experience, Samsung’s claims against Apple have largely rested on Apple’s use of UMTS technology — the 3G standard that sits under many of the world’s wireless data networks — although there are user interface patents at issue here, too.
Update: The news release from Samsung earlier today spelled out perhaps more than ever before the specific areas where Samsung believes Apple has violated its patents. In Japan, Samsung claims that Apple has infringement patents on High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA, which boosts 3G speeds) (1 patent); and three user interface patents, “which seriously violate Samsung’s intellectual property,” the company writes. The UI patents, it says, “are essential for displaying information on the screen,” and cover the “in flight mode” indicator (airplane icon); the ability to customize the home screen; and browsing applications “categorized in a tree structure,” as in the App Store.
In Australia, the preliminary injunction request pertains to three wireless telecom standards to do with WCDMA (a 3G standard) and HSPA. In a separate filing, Samsung is also appealing the injunction made last week on its 10-inch tablet.
“Apple has continued to violate our patent rights and free ride on our technology. We will no longer stand idly by and will steadfastly protect our intellectual property,” the company noted.
In the Netherlands, where Samsung has filed another case alleging that Apple has not properly licensed for the use of the radio technology, Apple has said that it has done so, via existing agreements with Samsung and Intel (NSDQ: INTC). So far, in that case, the court has not been deciding in Samsung’s favor.
Among the markets where Apple is suing Samsung, it has lodged a claim against the company in Japan over the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
Separately to this, Samsung has announced a milestone of sorts: it has sold 30 million of its Galaxy S and Galaxy S II devices worldwide (pictured). The race is on.