Samsung to seek ban on sales of iPhone 5 in Europe

In stunning turnabout, Reuters reports that Samsung is ready to sue Apple for patent infringement in soon-to-be-announced iPhone 5

The litigious everyone-vs.-everyone world of mobile technology appears poised for yet another bloody legal battle of mammoth proportions.

Five months ago, you may recall, Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung, in U.S. District Court in Northern California, claiming that Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copied "several elements of the Apple Product Configuration Trade Dress." That lawsuit didn't get too far, but in August, Apple took its complaint to Europe, where it won an injunction, upheld two weeks ago, that prevents Samsung from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany. Samsung has an appeal pending.

Now Reuters reports that Samsung (no doubt sensing that what's good for the goose is also good for the gander) appears ready to sue Apple for patent violations on the iPhone 5. Reuters quotes a report in the Maeil Business Newspaper -- Korea's largest business newspaper -- that says Samsung's going to file an injunction in a European court, seeking to ban sales of the iPhone 5 in Europe.

All of this is unfolding as rumors spread that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 on Oct. 4.

As I mentioned a month ago, Samsung provides flash memory, DRAM, and the processor -- an estimated 26 percent of the pieces, by value -- of an iPhone 4. We won't know for sure until next month, but my well-worn crystal ball now says that Samsung will provide exacty zero percent of the pieces of the iPhone 5 and the same for the iPad 3.

In 2010 Apple spent an estimated $5.6 billion on Samsung parts. In February, the Wall Street Journal said that Apple spent $7.8 billion for Samsung components: LCD panels, flash memory, and A4 and A5 mobile processors. Last week the Korean site DigiTimes reported that Apple now has a contract with TSMC to produce the A6 -- and possibly even the A7 -- processors. Paradoxically, though, DigiTimes says "many analysts still believe that TSMC is unlikely to land orders from Apple until 2012."

Methinks the analysts are wrong.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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