No sooner has the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S III been made available to pre-order than Apple is back in U.S. Court trying to get the highly anticipated unit banned from sales in the States. Apple added the device to its motion to have a preliminary injunction placed on the Samsung GALAXY Nexus. Apple is on the warpath having asked the ITC for an immediate ban on 29 HTC devices that the Cupertino based firm claims infringes on its patents.
The Korean electronics manufacturer has been on an upward trajectory lately, and Apple said letting the Galaxy S III hit the U.S. market will cause “irreparable harm” to the Cupertino colossus.
The US company filed for preliminary injunctions on June 5 in the District Court for the Northern District of California to stop the sale of Samsung’s flagship smartphone, Galaxy S III, accusing the Korean electronics giant of infringing on Apple’s user interface patents.
The latest legal action comes after the chief executives of both companies met in the US in late May in a court-directed session aimed at settling their smartphone patent war, which was initiated by Apple in April last year. Apple and Samsung have been entangled in about 30 patent litigation around 10 different countries so far.
“Samsung believes Apple’s request is without merit. We will vigorously oppose the request and demonstrate to the court that the Galaxy S III is innovative and distinctive,” said Samsung in a statement.
In its complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Apple all but comes out and says the new Galaxy — which has been popular where it has already been released, and has garnered favorable reviews from tech media outlets — is a threat to its flagship iPhone. It cites reports that consumers have already placed nine million preorders for the Galaxy S III.
“They’ve been battling each other across the globe, and at this point, Samsung has the edge in terms of smartphone sales,” said R “Ray” Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research. “What Apple really feels is that Samsung has really taken and tried to steal the look and feel of the iPhone.”
In December, Apple was successful at getting a “limited exclusion order” on the import of two HTC phones by making similar patent-infringement arguments.
What makes this and other recent patent spats between device makers and software companies difficult is that they are about the user’s interaction with their phone rather than just the hardware itself, Wang said. “People are trying to trademark customer experiences, because that’s what we’re competing on now… that’s what’s really at stake here.”
The stakes are high for Apple. An Associated Press report cited analyst speculation that the next version of the iPhone will come out as early as July. If Samsung is permitted by the court to keep its launch schedule on track and debut the Galaxy S III this month, it will have several weeks’
Samsung launched its latest version of its flagship smartphone in 28 countries in Europe, starting with London earlier in May, and the Middle East last week.
The fierce competition between Samsung, the world’s largest technology company by revenue and Apple, the world’s most valuable company, comes amid estimates by analysts that Samsung surpassed Apple in the first quarter as the world’s biggest seller of smartphones.