Samsung is seeking to ban Apple products in the U.S., as the patent litigation war between the companies escalates.
The South Korean company today said it filed a report with the International Trade Commission, or ITC, asking Apple to stop selling iPhone and iPad devices, among others, in the U.S., adding to the growing list of international lawsuits against Apple in California, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K.
Samsung’s claim is the latest escalation in the growing legal war between the two tech giants, and its latest move may force Apple’s hand into settling the original case. Earlier, Apple sought a preliminary injunction as part of its original suit against Samsung, which could limit the South Korea company’s smartphone and tablet sales in the U.S.
Samsung, already suffering from declining profits, in contrast to Apple’s booming business, must act boldly. However, the claim may further deteriorate what had been a mutually beneficial relationship.
Much of Samsung’s profits come from supplying Apple with components for its iPhones and iPads. Last year, Apple forked over $7.8 billion for LCDs, processors and flash memory, making up 4 percent of Samsung’s $140 billion revenue.
Apple, for its part, has been happy with Samsung’s products and earlier said it wants to remain friends, despite the ongoing courtroom drama. But the symbiotic relationship may deteriorate if the lawsuits continue to escalate.
In fact, recent rumors speculate that Apple may ditch Samsung as its supplier and instead turn to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, for its mobile device component needs.
If true, Apple’s next-generation devices may run on A6 chips made by TSMC and lack the AMOLED screens Samsung has provided for iPads thus far. Other than a different screen, though, it’s unlikely consumers would notice much of a change if Apple drops Samsung, since most of its iPad and iPhone contributions are under the hood.
If the lawsuits continue, Apple’s rumored switch to TSMC may soon become reality. Even though a California judge last week urged the two companies to come to an agreement outside of court, neither appears willing to rescind its patent claims.
Each company has struck blow-for-blow in various worldwide courts since Apple first filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung in April.
Apple initially accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying its iPhone and iPad designs. Samsung then filed a countersuit, accusing Apple of illegally copying several wireless technology patents.
After that, a court granted Apple’s request to examine several new Samsung devices for possible copyright infringement. Samsung asked to see the new iPhone 5 and iPad 3, however, a judge turned down this request.
Samsung’s ITC request is the latest and most aggressive move in the “tit-for-tat” ongoing courtroom drama. Whatever the ultimate outcome of the lawsuits — and whomever comes out on top — both companies have made clear they are in a fight to the finish.