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(LEAD) Samsung to countersue Apple over patent infringement
By Lee Youkyung
SEOUL, April 19 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday that it plans to lodge a counterclaim against Apple Inc. over the U.S. company's accusation that the maker of the Galaxy S smartphone infringed upon Apple's patents.

   Samsung's move comes after Apple filed a lawsuit last week with a U.S. district court alleging that the Galaxy S phone and the Galaxy Tab tablet computers copied designs, mobile software and other patents of the iPhone and the iPad.

   "We think Apple has violated our patents in communications standards," Chung Jae-woong, a spokesman at Samsung Electronics, said by phone. "We are considering a counterclaim."

   He declined to elaborate on what Apple products allegedly violated Samsung's wireless technology patents, but added that the company will proceed with a lawsuit after a careful review.

   Samsung joins a group of Android-based smartphone makers involved in patent battles with the maker of the iPhone amid intensifying competition in the lucrative smartphone market. Lawsuits are ongoing between Apple and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and between Apple and Taiwan-based HTC Corp.

   In its complaint against Samsung, Cupertino, California-based Apple sought a court order to block the use of its patents in Samsung's mobile devices and cash compensation among others, according to a representative of Apple in Korea.

   "It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," Apple spokesman Steve Park said in a statement. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

   Samsung faces the legal fight a few days before the scheduled launch of its new smartphone. The upgraded version of the Galaxy S is scheduled to be released next week in South Korea and it will hit shelves globally in May, the company said.

   Market observers said that a series of patent wars waged by Apple is also part of the U.S. company's carefully designed moves to style itself as the market leader.

   "The lawsuit seems to be aimed at advancing the idea that Apple is the No. 1 and the rest are No. 2," said Kang Jeong-soo, a researcher at the Communication Research Institute at Yonsei University in Seoul.

   During Apple's iPad 2 public event in March, Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive officer, slammed products by Samsung and a handful of other smartphone makers as "copycat" versions of Apple gadgets. Samsung, which counts the U.S. company as one of its two biggest clients, kept mum on the harsh remarks.

   But the Korean company said its response to Apple will be firm this time.

   "Though Apple is our client, it is also our rival in the mobile market," the spokesman for the Korean company said. "Since (Apple) sued us, taking legal action is inevitable."

   Apple was Samsung's second-largest client in 2010 after Sony Corp. Apple generated 4 percent of the Korean company's 155 trillion won (US$142 billion) in annual revenues last year, most of which came from purchases of Samsung semiconductors and display panels.

   ylee@yna.co.kr
(END)
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