South Korea's Samsung Electronics said Wednesday it would seek a ban in France and Italy on sales of Apple's newly released iPhone, in the latest round of its legal battle with the US technology giant.
A spokesman for Samsung warned that it was taking "an aggressive stance" toward Apple as the computer giants' row over copyright infringements took a new twist.
Samsung said in a separate statement it would file preliminary injunctions in the two countries to ban sales of the iPhone 4S, citing what it called two patent infringements regarding mobile technology.
The company said it would also file preliminary injunctions in other countries "after further review".
The move came a day after Apple unveiled its iPhone 4S, which will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Britain on October 14 and in another 22 countries including Italy from October 28.
"Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free-ride on our technology, and we will steadfastly protect our intellectual property," Samsung said.
Samsung, the world's number two mobile phone maker, claimed the US firm infringed its technology patents on wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) standards for 3G mobile handsets.
WCDMA is a mobile communications system which enables the continued support of voice, text, data and multimedia services.
Samsung said the infringed technology was essential to the reliable functioning of telecom networks and devices and described Apple's alleged violation as "too severe".
The two firms are already at loggerheads in a series of patent lawsuits over the technology and design of smartphones and tablet computers.
Samsung had been cautious in countering Apple's push because the US firm is a major customer for its chips and display screens, but the South Korean firm will become more aggressive from now on, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
The spokesman said earlier that Samsung was "virtually going into an all-out war" with Apple, but he later revised his comment and said: "We are virtually going into an aggressive stance."
The battle 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 and Galaxy Tab in Germany, Australia and other countries, prompting Samsung to file counter-suits.
Apple won a crucial battle with Samsung in Germany last month when a court ruled the Galaxy Tab had copied the iPad, and banned it from sale in that country.
But Samsung filed counter-complaints in France, vowing to defend its presence in Europe.
The iPhone 4S is a slick, improved version of the previous iPhone, with a speedier processor, a "personal assistant" that responds to voice commands and a more powerful camera.
But it is not the revamped next-generation iPhone 5 smartphone many had hoped for.
Analysts in Seoul said some disappointment over the new model may ease concerns for South Korean competitors such as Samsung and LG Electronics.
"Overall, it was upgraded, but nothing much has been significantly innovated," Kiwoom Securities said in a report.
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