news Korean electronics giant Samsung today asked courts in Australia and Japan to block the sale of Apple’s latest iPhone 4S handset in the two countries, as part of ongoing legal action between the pair.
“Samsung Electronics today filed preliminary injunction motions in the Tokyo District Court, Japan and in the New South Wales Registry, Australia requesting the courts to stop the sale of Apple’s iPhone 4S in the respective countries,” the company said in a statement this afternoon.
“In a separate filing today, Samsung has appealed the Australian court’s decision on October 13 to grant a preliminary injunction over the GALAXY Tab 10.1.” In Japan, Samsung is also seeking an injunction to immediately bar the sale of iPhone 4 and iPad 2.
According to the company’s statement, its preliminary injunction request in Australia cites three patent infringements relating to wireless telecommunications standards, specifically Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and HSPA. The injunction request in Japan, according to the company, cites infringements on one HSPA-related patent and three user interface patents.
“In light of these violations, Samsung believes the sale of such Apple devices should be injuncted,” Samsung said. “Apple has continued to violate our patent rights and free ride on our technology. We will steadfastly protect our intellectual property.”
The news comes just days after the launch on Friday morning of the iPhone 4S locally to great fanfare, with Australian telcos citing high levels of demand for Apple’s latest handset and still in the midst of shipping orders to customers located around the nation who had pre-ordered the device.
It represents the latest round in legal wrangling between the pair, kicked off internationally by Apple, which believes Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets infringe its patents and are too similar in design to Apple’s iPhone and iPad lines. Last week, Apple won a temporary injunction against Samsung selling in Australia its iPad rival tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, until the legal wrangling over patents between the pair is resolved. Samsung has also filed a countersuit against Apple on patent matters in Australia.
Today’s news follows a months’ worth of speculation that Samsung could attempt to block sales of the iPhone 4S in a number of jurisdictions around the globe. On September 21 European financial newspaper The Financial Times reported that Samsung was considering legal action to block sales of the handset either in Europe or South Korea. At the time, the company had already filed a motion to block sales of Apple’s existing iPhones in the Netherlands.
In both countries, Apple has already been successful in blocking some Samsung products from being sold (the Galaxy S series of devices in the Netherlands, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia), and in both countries, Samsung is retaliating with lawsuits based on its control of patents allegedly used by Apple for 3G access in its devices.
However, German-based patent commentator Florian Müller — a frequent analyst of the Samsung/Apple situation — does not believe Samsung will be successful in its legal attack in Australia.
“I believe Samsung’s attack on the iPhone 4S in Australia is doomed to fail because it relates to three patents declared essential to the 3G telecommunications standard,” Müller wrote this afternoon on his blog. “On Friday, a Dutch judge already made it clear that Samsung can’t seek an injunction based on such patents, and I’d be extremely surprised if an Australian judge took a different perspective on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing commitments.”
“The odds are very long against Samsung overcoming all of Apple’s defenses.”