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Samsung asks to see Apple's next iPhone, iPad

After being required to provide Apple's lawyers with several announced though not yet released Samsung gadgets--as part of Apple's patent suit against the Korean manufacturer--Samsung is now asking to see the "iPhone 5" and "iPad 3."

Apple and Samsung logos

In an interesting turn of events, Samsung's legal team has asked Apple to hand over next-generation versions of the iPhone and iPad to make sure its own future devices will not be subjected to the same infringement claims the company currently faces as part of Apple's lawsuit from last month.

The motion, filed on Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., and discovered by This Is My Next, asks the court to make Apple provide samples of the "final, commercial version(s)" of the iPhone and iPad, along with whatever retail packaging those products come in. Again, these aren't announced products, they're named in the filing as the "iPhone 4S," "iPhone 5," "iPad 3," and "third generation iPad."

The news comes a week after Apple filed a motion to see final production samples of a number of announced, though unreleased, Samsung products, including the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 tablets, and smartphones like the Galaxy S II, Droid Charge, and Infuse 4G. The idea behind that was to evaluate whether these devices would fall under the same intellectual-property infringement claims Apple had already placed on Samsung devices like the Nexus S, Captivate, Continuum, and Mesmerize in its original court filing.

Nilay Patel, of This Is My Next, notes that as with Apple's handling of the request to see Samsung's unreleased products, the Samsung request asks only that Samsung's lawyers, and not the company's product teams, be allowed to see the Apple devices. That said, the retaliation preys on the element of surprise, historically one of Apple's biggest strengths when introducing new products.

Apple's lawsuit against Samsung (PDF), back in April, alleged that Samsung had copied Apple's mobile devices both in terms of user interface and design features. Apple also alleged that the Samsung devices in question infringed on Apple's patents, and resulted in Samsung practicing unfair competition. Samsung fired back by launching a wave of patent infringement lawsuits targeting Apple's products in multiple countries.

The case continues to generate intense interest from tech onlookers. While the two companies compete, Apple and Samsung have historically been close business partners, with Apple making use of a number of Samsung components across the range of its devices. Nonetheless, the relationship has not kept Samsung and its telecommunications group from being targeted.

Samsung is requesting a court order to have Apple provide the samples by June 17, 2011. Samsung's filing can be seen here.