Apple, Samsung Legal Battle Extends to Japan

Apple is petitioning a Japanese court to ban Samsung devices there, according to a Reuters report. That expands the two companies' international legal war.

Apple wants a Japanese court to ban a selection of Samsung devices within that country, according to Reuters.

Unnamed sources told the news agency that Apple "has filed suit with the Tokyo District Court seeking the suspension of sales of Galaxy S and its sequel S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7."

Samsung and Apple have fired lawsuits at each other in a number of countries, including the United States and Australia. Both sides claim their rival's products violate existing patents, but Apple has taken its complaints one step further by accusing Samsung of outright copying its designs.

In Germany, Apple won an injunction against Samsung on the grounds of patent infringement, forcing the latter to halt production of the Galaxy Tab in that country. Samsung withdrew the device from the IFA trade show in Berlin, with a company spokesperson telling Bloomberg that it respected "the court's decision."

The battle comes at a delicate time for both companies. Apple is reportedly prepping its next smartphone, dubbed "iPhone 5" by the media, for unveiling sometime in either September or October. Meanwhile, Samsung's steady cadence of ever-more-powerful Android tablet and smartphone releases suggests it's trying to become more of a dominant player in the mobility space.

Samsung's next big bet in that arena is the Galaxy S II smartphone, which runs Android 2.3 "skinned" with the proprietary TouchWiz interface. The device includes a 4.3-inch "Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) Plus" screen (protected by durable Gorilla Glass), 16GB of onboard memory expandable via microSD to 32GB, and two cameras. In the United States, the device will appear on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in September.

Both Apple and Samsung also have designs on the enterprise. Samsung recently entered into a partnership with VMWare to bring virtual desktops to mobile devices, which would allow IT administrators to remotely manage and secure their employees' email and applications. Apple's products have seen greater adoption by businesses, driven in significant part by employees using their personal iPads and iPhones in a work context.

Despite the acrimony between the two companies, Apple remains a major purchaser of components from Samsung. Over the past several quarters, Apple has filed patent-infringement suits against HTC and Motorola, and recently settled a high-profile dispute with Nokia. Under the terms of the latter, Apple agreed to pay an undisclosed one-time fee in addition to royalties.

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