Samsung waiting on iPhone 5, has finger on lawsuit launch button

According the Korea Times, rival smartphone maker Samsung is eagerly anticipating the Korean launch of Apple's next generation iPhone 5 handset -- so Samsung can try and sue it off the shelves.

`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,’’ said a senior executive from Samsung Electronics, asking not to be identified.

``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.’’

While almost two dozen lawsuits are already pending between Apple and Samsung, Samsung remains a major manufacturing partner of Apple, though there are signs Apple is moving to diversify and diminish that dependence as well.

``Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer. Hewlett-Packard (HP), Nokia and Sony were Samsung’s previous big clients, however, Apple is now a primary one. From our perspective, we are not entirely happy (about the litigations),’’ Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung said.

Apple originally took issue with Samsung, whom they dubbed a "copyist", over perceived similarities between Samsung Android phones and tablets and the iPhone and iPad. Unlike other Android manufacturers who established their own looks, Apple contends Samsung deliberately copies Apple to confuse customers and unfairly benefit from Apple's brand and marketing. Apple has already succeeded, at least temporarily, to get Galaxy Tabs banned from sale in German and parts of the EU.

While Microsoft, who is also going after Samsung, seems content on getting licensing fees to make Android more expensive to manufacture, Apple's appears to want to make Android less friendly to use, demanding removal of features, not licensing deals.

Patent portfolios are often compared to nuclear arsenals, held as deterrents. Of course, if everyone ever lets them all fly, everyone loses.

[Korea Times]