Samsung launches ITC complaint against Apple

The complaint, which cites mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, is the latest volley in a continuing patent skirmish between the two companies.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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Samsung has taken aim at Apple,again, in a complaint it has filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The complaint, which was submitted to the agency yesterday, cites "mobile electronic devices, including wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, and tablet computer." According to Foss Patents, which first found the complaint, Samsung's move could mean the company is asking for a ban on the importation to the U.S. of Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

However, before such a ban is even close to being imposed, the U.S. ITC must first agree to hear Samsung's complaint. So far, the agency's panel has not done so, and the complaint's status is "pending."

Samsung's complaint against Apple is the latest development in the ongoing struggle between the companies.

The trouble started in April when the iPhone maker sued Samsung for allegedly "copying" its user interface and mobile-device designs. In a statement to AllThingsD following the lawsuit filing, Apple said that it's simply trying to protect its ideas.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," an Apple representative told AllThingsD. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

Later that month, Samsung responded with a lawsuit of its own, alleging that Apple violated several of its patents related to data transmission over mobile networks and tethering, among others. The company said in a statement at the time that it was "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."

Less than a week later, Samsung sued Apple again, saying that the iPhone maker violated 10 of its patents, including allowing users to use the Web while on a phone call. The company alleged that Apple had been violating its patents in all iPhones since the 3G, as well as in the company's first- and second-generation iPads.

Not to be outdone, Apple earlier this month expanded its earlier complaint against Samsung, alleging that many more of Samsung's devices, including the company's Droid Charge, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Galaxy S II, are "copying" Apple products.

"[Samsung's] products...blatantly imitate the appearance of Apple's products to capitalize on Apple's success," Apple wrote in its expanded complaint. "The copying has been widely observed in the industry and has been mentioned in multiple articles reviewing Samsung products."

Now with an ITC complaint leveled against it, Apple finds itself in familiar territory. Since 2006, the company has been involved in five ITC cases in which it has alleged that other companies were infringing its patents. Another 12 ITC cases cited Apple as the company allegedly infringing another firm's patents.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.