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Apple challenges Samsung in UK courts

Apple has brought its legal challenge against Samsung to the UK.

Patent pile-on! Apple has brought its legal challenge against Samsung to the UK, claiming that the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 copy the iPhone and iPad.

Apple filed the suit in British courts this week, as a response to an action brought by Samsung in June. The disputed patents haven't been identified yet, but we know Apple reckons the Galaxy line-up is too close to Apple phones and tablets, even down to the packaging. Meanwhile Samsung claims that Apple is infringing its patents.

Apple has already managed to get the Tab 10.1 briefly banned in Europe, although the injunction has been lifted in parts of the continent.

That's more than 20 countries hosting legal fisticuffs between the two companies. The outcome will have wider significance, as Apple is challenging elements of the Android software made by Google and used by many Samsung devices -- and devices made by a range of other manufacturers. Should Apple convince courts that Android infringes its patents, the company could sue those other manufacturers, and Google itself.

Apple is also locked in a separate battle with HTC in the High Court. HTC is considering buying a different operating system, perhaps to give itself a fall-back should the legal challenge impact Android. But Google will strengthen its hand when it swallows up Motorola, and the patents Moto owns.

Are these patent disputes blighting the phone world, or is it about time manufacturers stopped copying each other? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page. And meanwhile, keep calm and carry on.