Apple taps Japan court to ban sales of Samsung phones

TOKYO Thu Sep 8, 2011 6:03am EDT

An employee of South Korean mobile carrier KT holds a Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (R) and Apple Inc's iPad tablet as he poses for photos at a registration desk at KT's headquarters in Seoul August 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

An employee of South Korean mobile carrier KT holds a Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (R) and Apple Inc's iPad tablet as he poses for photos at a registration desk at KT's headquarters in Seoul August 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Apple is seeking to ban sales of some Samsung Electronics gadgets in Japan, accusing its rival of violating patents relating to the iPhone and iPad, the latest salvo in a series of patent battles between the two companies.

Apple has filed a 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 in Japan, according to sources close to the matter. The first hearing was held on Wednesday, the source said.

Samsung has been locked in a battle with Apple over smartphone and tablet patents since April. The Galaxy gadgets are seen as among the biggest challengers to Apple's mobile devices, which have achieved runaway success.

In a global intellectual property battle, Apple has said the Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets "slavishly" copied the iPhone and iPad, and it has sued the Korean firm in the United States, Australia and Korea as well as Europe.

Samsung, whose tablets are based on Google Inc's Android software, has countersued Apple.

Samsung filed a suit against Apple in Japan in April and Apple countersued on August 23, Samsung said. Apple is seeking 100 million yen ($1.3 million) in damages, as well as the sales ban, according to Kyodo news agency, which reported the news earlier.

Samsung's Galaxy S outsold Apple's iPhone in Japan in January-March, according to data from research firm Strategy Analytics.

A spokesman for the Tokyo District Court said he could not comment on pending cases.

Last month, Samsung said it would delay the launch of its latest Galaxy tablet computers in Australia until after a court ruling in late September. Last week, a German court banned sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Earlier on Thursday, Japan's top mobile carrier NTT Docomo launched Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 on its high-speed LTE network.

"We have heard from Samsung that it's all right," NTT Docomo President Ryuji Yamada told reporters at the launch when asked about the patent battles. "At this point we don't think it will harm our sales."

($1 = 77.325 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds and Reiji Murai in TOKYO and Miyoung Kim in SEOUL; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Anshuman Daga)

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Comments (4)
geocrunch wrote:
Yet another “shady” move by Apple, who always tried to claim “innovation” as their way to win the market, but now they are using “legalization” process instead, even though they really didn’t invent anything that wasn’t invented before their iPhone/iPad. Not a very fair (to consumers) way to push a legit competitor off the market, even though Samsung supplies them with screens, RAM chips and other hardware to build their iPhones and iPads. This is why I don’t like Apple, because they are very monopolistic in nature and don’t want to play fair – the same mistake Microsoft has been making for a while, which is one of the reasons it was pushed out of the market – too many people didn’t like them to be a monopoly, although comparing to Apple they were just a baby in the way they tried to monopolize the computer world. Apple will end up crashing really fast and really hard because of this.

Sep 08, 2011 4:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TomMariner wrote:
Innovation IS a legal process. The Constitutions of most of world’s governments grant a time-limited monopoly to those who will share what they have produced in the theory that the innovator who creates a follow on product will have a strong set of shoulders to stand on. But … they will have to wait for the monopoly to expire or design far enough away from the patent holder’s device to be different.

Of course it comes down to lawyers. In a system where the best lawyer wins, you can expect the most outrageous and well crafted arguments whether the words are true or not. So far, the Apple IP attorneys deserve a big paycheck.

Sep 08, 2011 7:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Fill wrote:
At least in Europe, this isn’t about patents but about “Community Design”, which is a sort of trade dress. You can’t make a product which looks and works remarkably similar to somebody else’s. It’s like Ford making a car that looks identical to a Ferrari Enzo with a Ford badge on the front. You can’t do that. Apple filed their CD in 2004 when at the time there was nothing looking remarkably looking like an iPad. Samsung’s tablet has some ‘tweaks’ but it definitely looks, imho, like they started with the iPad design as a template.

Sep 08, 2011 3:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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