Samsung talks tough about future of Apple patent fight

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It doesn’t appear Samsung is backing down in the ongoing patent battle between it and Apple. Lee Younghee, the head of global marketing for mobile communications for the Korean firm, told the Associated Press in an interview on Friday that the company is switching its strategy for dealing with the patent suits and that the new plan is to be more “aggressive.”

Speaking to the AP, Younghee said that Samsung would “be pursuing [its] rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on,” after claiming that rival Apple has been “free riding” wireless tech patents until now. Until now, Younghee said that Samsung has “been quite respectful and also passive in a way,” due in part to its business relationship with Apple as a supplier of components for its devices. Samsung’s renewed dedication to its fight with Apple comes, perhaps not coincidentally, after reports circulated that Apple is moving away from Samsung as a supplier of memory for its products.

Apple’s business with Samsung accounted for around $5.7 billion in sales in 2010, according to the Korean company’s last annual report. That year, Apple was Samsung’s No. 2 customer. This year, Apple moved up to No. 1. Samsung may be talking tough, but it stands to lose the most in the short term if the legal proceedings push Apple to seek alternative supply sources.

Samsung’s business is swinging more heavily toward the consumer end of the spectrum, however, where profit margins are better, and sourcing new suppliers for its growing mobile device business is no small inconvenience for Apple. These new comments from a senior Samsung executive don’t make it look like we’ll see a peaceful resolution anytime soon. In fact, Younghee’s comments may be a precursor to Samsung’s seeking an import ban in its home country of South Korea, something rumored to be in the works when Apple unveils the iPhone 5.

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