A 'Passive' Samsung Steps to 'Free Riding' Apple

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South-Korea's Samsung is taking the offensive against Apple, pushing for product injunctions and stepping up rhetoric against the long-time consumer electronics rival.

The maker of the Galaxy Tab S2 smartphone called on Netherland courts to ban Apple's popular iPad and iPad 2 tablets, and the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 over alleged violations of its 3G patent patents.

The company wants to stop all importing, trading and sales by Apple and five Apple subsidiaries, as well as recall all infringing devices in stock from its professional customers.

It comes just days after South-Korean papers reported that Samsung would file suits against Apple's upcoming iPhone 5 on its home turf, and against other Apple products in Australia, again citing its wireless technology patents.

Samsung has a proud history of innovation in the mobile industry, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said after filing the Australian suit. It has invested continuously in R&D, design and technology to produce our innovative and cutting-edge mobile devices.

The recent litigation represents a departure from what Samsung executives called a passive strategy in the past, to a more bolder stance against market-leader Apple.

We've been quite respectful and also passive in a way, Lee Younghee, head of global marketing told the AP. However, we shouldn't be anymore. We'll be pursuing our rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on.

Lee , who characterized Apple as free riding its innovations, said that Samsung holds key patents covering wireless telecommunications, the foundation allowing devices like the iPhone and the iPad to use voice and data features at the same time, for instance.

Apple reacted to Lee's comments by reiterating its claim Samsung has violated its intellectual property.

It is no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging, spokesman Steve Park told the AP. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.

The two companies are neck and neck in the smartphone industry, with Apple edging out Samsung to become the No.1 smartphone vendor with 20M devices sold in the second quarter. Samsung moved 19M units.

At least 20 lawsuits have been filed between Apple and Samsung around the world including South Korea, France, Japan and the U.S.

In August, Dutch courts ruled that devices from Samsung would not be allowed to be allowed on shelves in the Netherlands due to patent infringement.

German courts earlier this month ruled that Samsung cannot directly sell its new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet as well, saying the design too closely resembles Apple's iPad 2. Samsung has appealed the decision.

Apple previously said that Samsung's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets slavishly copied its own iPhone and iPad. The companies have thrown suits back and forth for months.

Apple has been aggressive in its own right, not afraid to deploy lawyers alongside its engineers to push its products and services inside the lives of more consumers.

In July HTC lost a preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission after rival Apple filed suit against it, seeking an halt to the import of its products into the US. The suit came more than a year after Apple filed its initial suit against HTC, alleging 20 instances of patent infringement, all dealing with various elements of the iPhone.

We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it, Steve Jobs said at the time.

We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.

U.S. rival Motorola Mobility has also been sued after Apple claimed that its host of Android phones infringe on several multi-touch and operating system patents.

 

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