The Korea Times reports that Samsung “is seeking a complete ban” on the iPhone 5 sales in Korea – even before the handset is even released, let alone officially announced. Local carriers KT and SK Telecom have so far sold about 3.1 million iPhones in the country. The paper quotes an unnamed Samsung senior executive:
Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. 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. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.
Another Samsung executive is “quite confident” about “a big breakthrough” provided Samsung wins in Germany, adding that “so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5”. The report goes on to mention that iPhone sports an LG Display-made screen, LG Innotek’s eight-megapixel camera, Samsung-made NAND flash and A5 chip and an NFC chip for wireless payment.
The twist in this case, of course, is the fact that Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer, buying displays, NAND flash memory and custom-built A4 and A5 chips for its products. It has been reported that Samsung may soon lose its contract as Apple turns to rival TSMC.
The manufacturing relationship means Samsung gets information about the innards of Apple’s non-released devices months before the actual manufacturing ramp up. This early access to Apple’s designs could have led Samsung to move with the iPhone 5 ban in Korea ahead of Apple’s official launch. On the other hand, Apple did not accuse Samsung yet of abusing its manufacturing contract to rip off Apple’s upcoming devices with its own products.
Samsung and Apple are now embroiled in 23 lawsuits in at least nine countries. Samsung also filed a complaint before a Paris district court in July over an alleged infringement of three Samsung patents, reports AFP. A change in Samsung’s otherwise passive approach to its legal spat with Apple came after a Dusseldorf, Germany court recently ruled that Samsung must cease sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the country for copying the iPad. Apple also managed to block Samsung from showing off its new Galaxy Tab 7.7 device at IFA in Germany. On August 24, a court in The Hague banned three Samsung Galaxy phones, which could be a major setback for the Korean consumer electronics maker because the Netherlands is their key import market for the European Union.
Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com