Samsung Electronics has launched a legal counterattack against Apple, filing lawsuits in three countries in which it claims that Apple infringed on Samsung patents on smartphone technologies. Last week, Apple had sued Samsung, claiming that features in its Galaxy smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablet PC were copied from Apple's iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.
On Thursday, the South Korean electronics giant filed suits against Apple in three cities: Seoul, where it charged Apple with five patent infringements; Tokyo, where it charged Apple with two patent infringements; and Manheim, Germany, where it charged Apple with three patent infringements.
"Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business," the company said in a statement.
According to Samsung, the lawsuits say Apple infringed on patents on technologies used for the following three purposes: reducing data transmission errors in Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) mobile networks, tethering mobile phones to PCs so the PC can use the phone's wireless data connection, and reducing power consumption when transmitting data over HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) networks.
The lawsuit Apple filed on April 15 in the U.S. says Samsung copied external design features on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The lawsuit further alleges that Samsung uses application icons that are very similar to icons on Apple's devices.
Last year, Samsung became the first major consumer electronics maker to release a tablet that threatened the iPad's market dominance. It also began competing with Apple in the smartphone market last year, offering a series of handsets that run Google's Android mobile operating system.
Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007 and announced the first iPad more than a year ago. Samsung came out with the Galaxy S smartphone in mid-2010 and the first Galaxy Tab late last year.
Market research firm Gartner has forecast that iPad sales will reach 48 million units this year, compared to 13.9 million for Android-based tablets, giving Apple's iOS operating system a 68.7% share of the tablet market. Next year, Gartner predicts, that share will drop to 63.5%.