Samsung may try to block new iPhone

Steve Dinneen
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THE ESCALATING smartphone patent war saw another salvo yesterday, with Samsung considering a legal bid to block the sale of the as-yet-unseen iPhone 5, according to sources close to the matter.

The move follows a series of suits brought by Apple against the Korean firm, which culminated in sales of Samsung’s latest tablet being blocked in Germany, alongside some smartphone models in the Netherlands and an indefinite delay in launching new tablets in Australia.

Apple accused its rival of “slavishly” copying its designs, prompting Samsung to counter-sue.

The two technology firms are locked in intensifying legal battles in nine countries over their flagship smartphone and tablet products.

The much-anticipated iPhone 5 is rumoured to have an October launch date, with Apple hoping to continue the momentum that saw it shift more than 20m smartphones in the last quarter.

Samsung, meanwhile, is becoming an increasingly serious rival to Apple’s dominance at the high end of the smartphone market.

Sales of its flagship Galaxy S phone rivalled iPhone sales last quarter and it recently overtook struggling Nokia as the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer.

The legal war was further ignited last month following Google’s shock acquisition of phone-maker Motorola for $12.5bn (£7.8bn), motivated by its portfolio of more than 17,000 patents.

Analysts say the move was an attempt to buy insurance against legal attacks from rivals.

Google subsequently provided HTC with ammunition in its unrelated legal battle with Apple by selling it a number of key patents, which the Taiwanese firm added to its case.