Samsung Broadens Offensive Against Apple

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Samsung has said it is planning to attack Apple with new lawsuits around communications standards

Samsung is planning a legal action that could result in a ban on sales of Apple’s iPhone 5 in Europe and South Korea, according to a report.

The move is part of a wider legal battle between the two companies that includes a case being argued in the Netherlands on Monday. In the Dutch case Samsung said on Monday that Apple has been infringing its 3G patents “structurally” since 2008.

Dutch ban

In that case Samsung is looking for a ban on Dutch sales of all iPad and iPhone products that use 3G technology.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Samsung is also looking for a similar result on a Europe-wide scale with further lawsuits related to wireless communications technology, according to a report in The Telegraph.

“We are preparing aggressive legal suits against Apple, shifting away from our defensive strategy,” a Samsung representative told The Telegraph. “We stand a good chance of winning the cases if we use our patents related to wireless communications standards.”

Apple currently has the largest market capitalisation in the world, with the iPhone believed to generate about half of its revenues.

In The Hague today (Monday) Samsung argued that Apple has been infringing Samsung’s 3G patents since it brought the iPhone 3G to market in 2008.

“Apple just entered the market in 2008 without taking care of the licenses. Apple is consciously, structurally infringing the 3G patents,” a Samsung lawyer told the court on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

Samsung has filed four lawsuits against Apple in Holland, and today is the first scheduled hearing for the cases.

iPhone 5 on the way

The iPhone 5 is still surrounded by a veil of secrecy but could arrive as early as 4 October, when Apple is planning an event, according to a rumour by blog AllThingsD.

To complicate matters, Apple is also Samsung’s biggest customer in its microchip business. Samsung sold about $5.7 billion (£3.7bn) chips to Apple in 2010, about 4 percent of its total sales.

As the lawsuits heat up, Apple is expected to shift chip orders away from Samsung to manufacturers such as Toshiba, and Samsung is battling to ensure that the growth of its telecommunications products fills the gap.

Apple began the intellectual property battle with a lawsuit against Samsung in April in California, and the companies are now engaged in more than 20 cases in nine countries.

Some industry observers expect the issues involved to be settled out of court following a long and costly battle. A two-year legal battle between Nokia and Apple, along very similar lines, was settled out of court earlier this year.

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