Apple sues Samsung, accuses them of copying iPhone, iPad

Apple is suing Samsung, claiming Samsung's Galaxy line of phones and tablets copy the look and feel of iPhone and iPad.

"Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface and innovative style in these infringing products."

Samsung's Galaxy line has been one of the most commercially successful range of Android products to date but have also been among the most iOS-like in terms of interface conventions, thanks to Samsung's TouchWiz. Ironically, Samsung is also one of Apple's more important manufacturing partners, producing components for iPhone and iPad both.

This is the third Android-based lawsuit launched by Apple, who sued HTC last year -- HTC has reached a licensing deal with Microsoft, ironically, for Google's Android -- and Motorola back in October.

UPDATE: More from Apple, and an illustrative image, above. [Mobilized]

“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,” an Apple representative told Mobilized. “This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

UPDATE 2: As Jon points out in the comments, Apple is legally obligated to defend its trademarks or it risks losing them. Likewise asserting patents for a public company in a highly competitive market is the responsibility of of its management. When and against whom it chooses to litigate them, however, is interesting.

UPDATE 3: Samsung has a preliminary response [AFP]

"Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property," the South Korean firm said in a statement.

"Apple is one of our key buyers of semiconductors and display panels. However, we have no choice but respond strongly this time," an unidentified official was quoted as saying.

UPDATE 4: Former Engadget editor (and lawyer) Nilay Patel gives a break down of the suit, and his thoughts. [This Is My Next]

Taken as a group, it feels like a remarkably solid case — Samsung can’t just up and countersue Apple with its own patents and hope to walk away with a handshake and a cross-license because of the various trademark, trade dress, and design patent claims. How the company decides to deal with those issues remains to be seen; there’s no question in my mind that Samsung designed TouchWiz to look and feel as much like iOS as possible, and then marketed it as such.

[Wall Street Journal]