Samsung Seeks IPhone 4S Ban in France, Italy

Samsung Seeks IPhone 4S Ban in France, Italy

Samsung is seeking injunctions against Apple’s iPhone 4S in France and Italy, continuing the legal battle over intellectual property between the two tech companies.

“Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free-ride on our technology,” Samsung said. “We will steadfastly protect our intellectual property.”

Samsung also plans to file cases in other countries in an attempt to stop iPhone 4S sales, adding to the more than 20 cases filed worldwide since April between Apple and Samsung.

As in many such cases, Apple and Samsung may need to negotiate a royalty settlement over the new phones for Apple to avoid a costly sales ban. Outright stoppages don’t often happen, because companies typically prefer settling cases rather than losing lucrative sales.

But both companies’ strong emphasis on bans may be whittling down its rival’s product distribution. In Apple’s case, the push to ban Samsung’s products may be working, and the company has successfully petitioned courts in Germany and the Netherlands to ban Samsung’s devices for the duration of their suits.

Samsung spokesman James Chung told Reuters that French and Italian laws allow companies to seek product sales ban orders even before an item comes on the market. In other words, if a ban is indeed ordered and the two companies don’t come to a royalty settlement, the iPhone 4S could be kept from two crucial European markets.

Samsung’s latest injunction plea was not a surprise after the iPhone 4S’ debut. The new phone added software to the previous iPhone 4 model, but the handset’s design, including its touch screen, remain unchanged.

Apple’s South Korean rival expected to file the preliminary injunction requests today, with each case involving alleged patent infringements for wireless technology.

The latest injunction request comes as courts in Australia and California are debating whether to ban Samsung devices. Apple Tuesday rejected Samsung’s offer to settle a dispute over its new Galaxy tablet in Australia, and the judge is expected to decide on an injunction against the device in the next few days.

Also, a California federal judge is expected next week to rule on an injunction ordering a ban on Galaxy tablets and smartphones. T-Mobile and Verizon both have sided with Samsung, saying a ban will hurt crucial holiday sales.

The continuing legal battles may hinder what was once a lucrative business partnership between Apple and Samsung, which supplies many components used in the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s devices.

Apple is reportedly looking at shifting its component purchases to a Japanese company, which may further affect Samsung’s bottom line. Samsung’s quarterly meeting is scheduled for Friday, and analysts believe the ongoing legal battles, combined with persistent chip price declines, may lead to a huge earnings drop.

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