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Samsung seeks to bar Apple’s U.S. sales

Korean company asks U.S. commission to block imports of mobile devices


Samsung Electronics has taken another legal step in its strife with Apple Inc. by requesting that the U.S. International Trade Commission block the import of overseas-made iPhones, iPads and iPods into the U.S.

Samsung’s complaint involves all “mobile electronic devices, including wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, and tablet computers.”

The latest move from Samsung comes amid a deepening legal dispute with Apple.

In April, Apple sued Samsung, saying its Galaxy lineup of Android smartphones and tablet PCs duplicated its own iPad and iPhone lines.

Samsung countersued with claims that Apple infringed on patents for its communication technology.

As Samsung’s complaints escalated, the Cupertino-based company responded with a tit-for-tat complaint earlier this month, alleging that many more of Samsung’s devices, including the company’s Droid Charge, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy S 2, “copied” Apple products.

Samsung is now demanding prototypes of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3. The latest in the iPhone series is expected to be launched by September, while the new iPad is set for release sometime next year, according to industry sources.

Since 2006, Apple has been involved in five ITC cases with other companies over alleged patent infringements. Another dozen ITC cases cited Apple as allegedly infringing on another firm’ patents.

But Apple has not been successful in making its point at the ITC, with it recently losing a case over iPhone patents against Nokia, the world’s largest handset maker.

Apple also had faced investigations by the commission on complaints filed by Kodak and S3 Graphics over digital imaging technology.

Apple and Samsung have been at each other’s throats despite their heavy interdependence.

Apple depends on Samsung for half of its mobile DRAM needs and also half of its NAND memory demand. Memory chips are indispensible components of smart devices such as smart phones and tablet PCs.

For Samsung, Apple is consequently one of its largest clients.

Industry watchers believe the domestic electronics maker’s growing confidence over the success of its smartphones and its upcoming launch of new smart devices is serving as its ammunition.

Samsung is currently the world’s No.2 handset maker but is expected to soon surpass the struggling Nokia.

Apple, meanwhile, may be seeking to take the steam out of Samsung before the launch of its iPhone 5 and iPad 3, experts noted. Apple also has been pondering how to diversify its suppliers to reduce its dependence on Samsung.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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