Samsung seeks ban on sale of key Apple products in US

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Apple's iPhone 3G (left) and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S mobile phone (right)
Image caption,
Apple and Samsung are leading players in the fast growing smartphone and tablet PC market

Samsung Electronics has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking to ban the sale of key Apple products in the US.

Samsung wants to stop iPhone, iPad and iPod models being imported and sold in the US.

The two companies have been involved in a legal tussle, accusing each other of copying designs and technology.

Apple produces some of the best-selling smartphones and tablet PCs.

"Samsung will vigorously defend our intellectual property to protect our role as a leader and innovator in the mobile communication business in order to better serve our customers," Samsung said in a statement.

While Samsung has been a key supplier of components to Apple, the Korean phone maker has also been successful in selling its own smartphones, which use Google's Android operating system.

Android overtook Symbian and Apple's iOS to become the world's leading operating system during the last quarter of 2010.

Ongoing tussle

Samsung electronics tasted success with the launch of its Galaxy series in the smartphone and tablet PC category.

However, earlier this year Apple sued Samsung, accusing the company of "slavishly" copying its designs.

Apple's claims focused on Galaxy's design features, such as the look of its screen icons.

Samsung said its products were the result of research and development carried out by the company.

But in an unexpected twist to the legal tussle, days later Samsung filed suits against Apple in three countries accusing its rival of infringing its patents.

Analysts said the legal wrangling was an unnecessary headache for both firms.

"I can't imagine that Samsung will get Apple's products banned from being sold," said Tim Charlton of Charlton Media.

"Similarly, it will be very difficulty for a judge to decide how a company's products should be designed," he added, explaining that Apple may not be able to dictate how Samsung's gadgets should look.


Despite the legal claims and counter claims, the two companies remain dependent on each other.

Samsung provides microchips for Apple's products and the California-based company is also key client for the Korean manufacturer, with business between the two totalling $5.7bn (£3.5bn) in 2010.

Analysts said that although the legal tussle may sour relations between the two, it was unlikely that they would stop dealing with each other.

"I think they may be pragmatic," said Mr Charlton.

"At the end of the day, Apple will end up buying microchips from the supplier who can give them the best quality at the best rates," he said.

However, given the volume of microchips that Apple buys, it is highly unlikely the company would have many alternative suppliers, he added.

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