During the Apple's first quarter earnings call, Chief Operating Officer Tony Cook fired at Samsung, which Apple sued for infringing both patents and trademarks. The Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple accused Samsung of copying the design for the iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy S line of phones and its Galaxy Tab tablet.
We felt the mobile communications business of Samsung had crossed the line, and after trying for some time to work through the issue we decided we needed to rely on the courts, Cook said.
Complicating the situation is Apple's relationship with Samsung. Samsung provides Apple with a number of vital components, including display and semiconductor for use in the iPad and iPhone. Four percent of Samsung's $142 billion revenue in 2010 came from sales to Apple.
We are Samsung's largest customer, and Samsung is a very valued component supplier to us. I expect a strong relationship will continue, Cook said. Despite the close ties, however, Apple has said that Samsung is still obligated to respect its patents.
In the suit filed April 15, Apple said, Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products.
Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee responded to the suit, comparing Samsung to a protruding nail that Apple and other companies are attempting to hammer down. Not only Apple, but also unrelated companies that do not produce electronics products are increasingly trying to keep Samsung in check, he said.
Samsung has pledged to countersue Apple over alleged infringements to Samsung's communications technology. That lawsuit, however, has yet to be filed.