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Samsung seeks iPhone sales ban in Japan, Australia

SEOUL, Oct 17 – South Korea’s Samsung Electronics said Monday it was trying to block the sale of Apple’s newest iPhone in Japan and Australia, escalating a legal battle with the US company after several setbacks.

Samsung said in a statement it had filed for preliminary injunctions in courts in Tokyo and the state of New South Wales, seeking a ban on sales of the new iPhone 4S on the grounds it infringed upon Samsung’s technology patents.

The Korean firm said it was also seeking a sales ban on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 in Japan, after Apple won a temporary ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia.

“Apple has continued to violate our patent rights and free-ride on our technology. We will no longer stand idly by and will steadfastly protect our intellectual property,” Samsung said.

The filing in Japan cites infringement of technology patents, Samsung said, accusing Apple of also violating in Australia three of its wireless technologies essential for operating mobile phones.

In a separate filing, the Korean firm also appealed against an Australian court’s interim order Friday to suspend sales of its Galaxy 10.1 tablet at the request of Apple, which claims a breach of touchscreen technology patents.

Samsung, the world’s number two mobile phone maker after Nokia, and Apple have been embroiled in a series of patent suits accusing each other of copying designs and technology for their smartphones and tablets.

The legal battle over the $100 billion market began in April in the United States when Apple accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying its market-leading iPhone and iPad.

Apple has since sought a ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab in Germany, Australia and other countries, prompting Samsung to file counter-suits.

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In the latest ruling, a Dutch court on Friday rejected a bid by Samsung to ban sales of Apple’s 3G phones and tablet devices there due to alleged patent infringements of wireless technologies.

Samsung is also seeking to block sales of the iPhone 4S in Italy and France in separate suits. The new model went on sale in many markets last week.

The Korean firm is pressing Apple hard in the lucrative smartphone business.

Apple shipped 20.3 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of this year compared to Samsung’s 19.6 million.

Analysts say Samsung may have passed Apple in the third quarter thanks to its flagship Galaxy SII model unveiled in April.

The company said the Galaxy series had achieved a combined total of 30 million global sales since the launch of the original Galaxy S last year.

It said the SII accounted for more than 10 million of the total after selling faster than any other device in the company’s history.

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