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Apple sues Samsung for 'slavishly copying' the iPhone and iPad

Apple has set its legal dogs loose on Samsung, directly accusing the Korean company of ripping off its iPhone and iPad designs.

Apple has set its legal dogs loose on Samsung, directly accusing the Korean company of ripping off its iPhone and iPad designs -- and issuing a lawsuit to that effect.

Samsung supplies some key iPhone and iPad components, building both Apple's A4 and A5 processors. Regardless, Apple's lawsuit makes it crystal clear it reckons Samsung's Galaxy Tab looks and feels just a little too similar to its own iProducts.

Apple filed the scorching suit in US District Court in Northern California on Friday, alleging "patent and trademark infringement, as well as unfair competition", according to AllThingsD's Mobilized blog. Author Ina Fried reckons Apple is also requesting injunctions and claiming both actual and punitive damages.

Fried says Apple's suit, which she has seen, contains "harsh words" and side-by-side comparisons of Samsung and Apple products to support the claim that Samsung's Galaxy Tab "slavishly copies a combination of several elements of the Apple Product Configuration Trade Dress".

An unnamed Apple representative told the blog that Apple believes 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". The unidentified Apple employee goes on to say, "This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

We asked Apple if that's what it really thinks, but have yet to receive a response.

Samsung, on the other hand, told us it would "respond actively" to Apple's legal action and the "development of core technologies and strengthening its intellectual property portfolio" were key to its success.

The long and short of it is that Apple's lawyers think Samsung's recent products borrow rather too much from Apple designs. And we imagine plenty of people would agree: take a look at our review of the Samsung Galaxy Ace, where we say the new handset looks "an awful lot like the iPhone 4".

What do you think? Does Apple have a point? Or is a black rectangle with some buttons too generic a design to have dibs on? Share your patended thoughts in the comments section.