Samsung moves to block iPhone 4S sales in France, Italy

Samsung said it it will seek to block the sale of Apple's new iPhone 4S in France and Italy, only hours after Apple introduced the smartphone in the United States.

Click here for a photo tour through the iPhone 4S.

Samsung said in a post on its official Tomorrow blog that the iPhone 4S infringes two W-CDMA patents held by Samsung, and that Apple's abuse of Samsung's intellectual property (IP) is "too severe" and "iPhone 4S should be barred from sales."

"Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our IP rights and free ride on our technology. We believe it is now necessary to take legal action to protect our innovation," the blog post said. 

Samsung spokesman James Chung told Reuters that under the laws of France and Italy, companies can seek--and courts can order--a ban on sales of a product even before the device becomes available for sale. An Apple spokesman declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.

Of note, the Samsung blog also said that the company was planning to file preliminary injunctions in other countries "after further review."

Lee Soon-hak, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul, told the New York Times that, by instigating legal action in France and Italy, Samsung had understood in which country it had the best chance of winning a case against Apple with a significant market effect on its rival.

However, he added that the two consumer electronics firms might be moving towards a possible reconciliation. "I don't think Apple wants to prolong this battle forever," he said. "At the same time, Samsung will also want a compromise."

But the two firms have been intensifying their legal attacks on each other, and this latest instance comes after Samsung had suffered a series of setbacks in Europe and Australia. Both firms have sued each other in 10 countries and in more than 20 cases since April.

A ruling on Apple's requested preliminary injunction on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia is expected later this week, after Samsung's attempted settlement was rejected by Apple. A negative outcome to the legal action is likely to kill off any chances of a commercial success for the Samsung tablet in Australia.

For more:
- see this Samsung Tomorrow blog
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this NYT article

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