posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Sep 2011 21:43 UTC
IconSo, after a bunch of attacks from Apple, Samsung seems to have gone on the offensive against the gadget maker from Cupertino - and big time, too. In three countries, France, Australia, and South Korea, Samsung has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Apple - with the South Korea suit being the weird one. Unlike Apple's software patents and napkin scribbles community designs, Samsung is using actual hardware patents.

Samsung's offensive started about a week ago in France. The French lawsuit covers three hardware patents for UMTS, one of the 3G technologies, and thus, affects the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and the iPad 1/2 with 3G functionality. "The complaint focuses on three technology patents, and not on the design of the tablets," Samsung notes in a jab at Apple's lawsuits. The first hearing, which will be in Paris, won't take place until December.

The next country in Samsung's offensive was Australia. It would appear the same patents are in question here, so it covers the same string of Apple devices. "To defend our intellectual property, Samsung filed a cross claim for Apple's violation of Samsung's wireless technology patents," Samsung said. The timing of this one is interesting, since the ruling on whether or not the Galaxy Tab 10.1 may be sold or not in Australia is imminent.

The third and final leg (for now) of Samsung's offensive is the most interesting one, since not only does this cover Samsung's home country - South Korea - it's also not about current Apple hardware, but about future hardware. More specifically, the iPhone 5. Samsung wants the courts to ban all sales of the iPhone 5 in South Korea.

"Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung's wireless technology related patents," a senior executive from Samsung told The Korea Times, "For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights."

Up until very recently, Samsung's mostly been on the defensive against Apple's patent and design lawsuits, so it's refreshing to see the company go on the offensive. It kind of feels like the Korean lawsuit is potentially the most interesting one, since if they managed to score a win there, it would be pretty high-profile.

All in all, fun times continue!

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