Samsung Electronics said it will seek to block Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) from selling its newly unveiled iPhone 4S device in France and Italy.
The Korean electronics giant plans to file separate preliminary injunction motions in Paris and Milan courts in connection with the desired prohibition.
Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free ride on our technology. We believe it is now necessary to take legal action to protect our innovation, Samsung said in a blog.
Samsung is accusing Apple of infringing two patents related to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) standards for 3G mobile handsets.
The infringed technology is essential to the reliable functioning of telecom networks and devices and Samsung believes that Apple's violation as being too severe and that the iPhone 4S should be barred from sales, the company said.
“Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free ride on our technology. We believe it is now necessary to take legal action to protect our innovation.”
The filing was expected since Samsung threatened to do so even before the iPhone 4S was officially introduced.
Samsung further warned that it may seek similar injunctions in other countries.
Florian Mueller, who writes about patents, said in a blog: Samsung's announcement declares those patents to be ‘essential’ which is an incredibly important term in connection with industry standards. If those patents are indeed essential to the standard, then Samsung as a participant in the relevant standard-setting process has an obligation to grant licenses to everyone, including Apple, on FRAND [fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory] terms. Apple already accuses Samsung in other jurisdictions, including but not limited to the U.S., of failing to honor those obligations.’
Mueller further speculates: “If those patents are essential, then there are two questions to be analyzed by a court: Does Apple have to pay? And if so, how much can Samsung ask for under a FRAND framework? But an injunction can only be justified if and when Apple refuses to pay a FRAND royalty that it owes in the binding opinion of a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile, the patent wars between Apple and Samsung appear to be intensifying. In April, Apple charged that Samsung’s Galaxy S product line looked too similar to its own iPhone and iPad devices.
PC Magazine reported that the battle has now expanded to almost two dozen countries.
On Tuesday, Apple rejected a proposal by Samsung to settle a dispute related to the sale of tablet computers in Australia. The two companies are also involved in litigation in the U.S., Netherlands and South Korea.
Samsung is expected to release its quarterly earnings statement on Friday, with many analysts forecasting lower profits due to declining chip prices.