Samsung has hit back at Apple in a tit-for-tat lawsuit just days after Apple sued the South Korean firm for ’slavishly copying’ its iPhone and iPad designs.
Samsung today accused Apple of infringing ten mobile technology patents in a countersuit filed in South Korea, Germany and Japan.
Exactly a week ago, Apple had took legal action against Samsung alleging its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers infringed its copyright.
Samsung copied Apple’s product design, user interface and packaging, according to that lawsuit, filed on April 15 in the U.S. District Court in northern California.
Apple is seeking an order barring the South Korean company from infringing on a variety of its patents and trademarks, as well as unspecified damages.
‘This kind of blatant copying is wrong,’ Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said in a statement shortly after their lawsuit was filed.
A Samsung spokesman responded with a short statement to say the company’s products are the result of its own research and development.
Following today’s countersuit, a Samsung statement said that Apple’s iPhone and iPad infringe Samsung’s ten mobile technology patents and it called for Apple to stop infringing its technology and compensate the company.
‘Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business,’ the statement said.
The two-way legal action comes days before Samsung launches a new product and could jeopardise business ties between the two companies, as Apple relies on Samsung for component supplies such as chips and LCD displays.
‘Apple is quite annoyed by Samsung’s fast rise in a market which it virtually created,’ James Song, an analyst at Daewoo Securities, said.
‘It’s quite threatening to see how quickly Samsung plays catch-up, and Apple might have felt a strong urge to put a brake on its march just when Samsung is set to roll out a new smartphone in May ahead of its new iPhone.’
Apple sold 18.6million iPhones in the last quarter alone. Samsung, which had a fraction of the booming market until early last year, is estimated to have sold around 13million smartphones in January to March and aims to sell 60million units this year.
Operating systems have emerged as the key battlefield for dominance of the world’s smartphone market.
Android became the most popular smartphone software in the United States in the three months ending in February, ahead of Apple and Research in Motion , according to a recent survey by research firm comScore.
Samsung is one of the fastest growing smartphone makers on the back of the Android boom and has emerged as Apple’s strongest competitor in the tablet market, with models in three sizes.
Global technology companies are locked in a web of litigation as they try to defend their shares of the booming tablet and smartphone market.
Strong sales of the iPhone and iPad translate into more revenue for Samsung. Apple was Samsung’s second-biggest client after Sony last year, bringing in around $5.7billion of sales, and is widely expected to become Samsung’s top client this year.
‘But both know that they need each other. Apple can’t suddenly change to other company for supplies of memory chips and mobile processors, because there’s no one able to meet Apple’s requirement in terms of technology and capacity other than Samsung,’ Mr Song said.
The battle comes ahead of Samsung launching a new version of its successful Galaxy S smartphone next week in Korea, a key product for the world’s number two handset maker to meet its target of 60million units of smartphone sales this year.