Samsung Tries to Block Apple Sales in the US
There will be no iPhone 5 in the U.S. if Samsung Corp. has anything to do with it. The device maker is taking its lawsuits against Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) to the next level, filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) Thursday in hopes of stopping the sale of Apple products in the U.S.
Samsung has also expanded its patent infringement lawsuits to six countries, hoping to force Apple into a settlement. At the same time, Apple is seeking a preliminary injunction on the case it initially filed in April in a San Jose, Calif. federal court in which it alleges that Samsung "slavishly copied" its products, The Wall Street Journal reports. Like its adversary, Apple is hoping to limit Samsung's ability to sell in the U.S. (See Apple Sues Samsung for iCopying.)
Samsung filed a new lawsuit in Delaware Thursday, and its countersuits now span California, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K. Apple filed a countersuit against Samsung in South Korea last week. If the USITC decides to investigate Samsung's claims, the Delaware suit could be sidelined for the length of the investigation, possibly for over a year.
Why this matters
Besides the fact that outlawing Apple products in the States would cause a widespread panic akin to banning Starbucks, the lawsuits between the two companies are significant for several reasons.
First, it demonstrates the fierce competitiveness of the mobile devices market, as well as Samsung's keen focus on taking down the market leader. It also shows how hard it is to build a unique product given consumer demands and industry trends. (See Apple Escalates Samsung Lawsuit.)
Secondly, Samsung and Apple compete on smartphones and tablets, but Apple is also its competitor's biggest customer for chipsets. The WSJ suggests this relationship might end depending on the outcome of the lawsuits, which could hurt both players even more than a settlement.
Third, it demonstrates a growing trend in the wireless industry -- suing your way to the top. Apple is no stranger to patent infringement lawsuits. It recently settled a nearly two-year spat with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) through an agreement to fork over a one-time fee and ongoing royalties. With the rest of the industry mimicking its market-leading products, more lengthy lawsuits are inevitable.
Read up on the escalating court drama between Apple and the rest of the mobile industry below:
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile