Samsung’s banking on home-field advantage to get the iPhone 5 banned in Korea, even as Apple gains the upper hand in smaller patent battles overseas.
Samsung executives told Korea Times that it will seek a sales ban against the iPhone 5 once it launches in Korea. “For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents,” a Samsung executive, who did not wish to be named, told the paper. “We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.”
The bad blood began in April, when Apple sued Samsung for “blatant copying” of Apple patents and trademarks, particularly in Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones and tablets. Samsung counter-sued, which is generally what major tech companies do when they get sued by another major tech company for patent infringement.
Usually, these things just end with licensing agreements that make lawyers rich while costing one company more money than the other, but the case of Apple vs. Samsung has been a bit nastier. Germany has banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, and forced the company to remove its Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the IFA trade show in Berlin. Australia temporarily banned the same tablet while a lawsuit from Apple is pending. Samsung has appealed the case in Germany and counter-sued in Australia. The two companies’ patent fight currently spans 12 courts across nine countries.
It’s unclear why Samsung isn’t talking about blocking the iPhone 5 in other countries, but the company does have more patent attacks in mind. “If Samsung wins in Germany that will give us a big breakthrough and so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5,” an executive said.
Part of me hopes that Samsung succeeds in scoring an injunction or two, if only so both companies can hurry up and settle. When products get pulled from store shelves, consumers lose.