Samsung Countersues Apple for Patent Infringement

When it comes to Apple’s (s aapl) patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung, the South Korean electronics company said it would answer “actively,” using “appropriate legal measures” and it has made good on that promise. Samsung filed suit in Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo; and Mannheim, Germany, the company said early Friday. The complaints allege that Apple infringed on patents held by Samsung regarding mobile communications tech.

According to a spokesman for Samsung speaking to Bloomberg, Apple specifically infringed on Samsung patents related to communication standards, and concerning the method by which mobile phones connect to PCs in order to transmit wireless data between devices.

It’s no surprise that Samsung responded in this way. As I mentioned in my earlier post on the subject, this really has more to do with Apple negotiating terms with Samsung than with an actual pitched legal battle. Samsung really had no choice but to countersue, according to National University of Singapore business professor Chang Sea Jin, who told Bloomberg:

Apple is trying to annoy Samsung — they’re throwing a ball at Samsung to keep them in check. This is strictly business. The typical way to deal with cases like this is to counter sue. It’s not between the management of Samsung and Apple, their lawyers will work it out.

Chang also believes that the Samsung/Apple supplier relationship won’t be put in jeopardy as a result of this legal quarrel, for the simple reason that Samsung is among the cheapest suppliers out there. Apple “may try to diversify their suppliers and reduce their reliance on Samsung,” said Chang, but “Apple won’t likely drop Samsung altogether.” Apple is Samsung’s second-biggest customer, representing a significant four-percent chunk of its business in 2010. Apple, on the other hand, can source parts from other manufacturers at a slightly higher cost, but its healthy product profit margins can probably easily absorb the hit. But, as Chang says, it’ll probably never come to that.