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Samsung strikes back with countersuits against Apple in Australia, suits waiting in Korea

by Phil Hornshaw

Apple’s legal Death Star might have exploded Samsung’s Alderaan by winning injunctions banning the Korean device maker from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany and its Galaxy S smartphones in The Netherlands. But that doesn’t mean Samsung isn’t getting its proton torpedoes ready for a counter-offensive.

Sorry. Those Star Wars Blu-rays are coming out this week and it’s been on my mind a lot. But the metaphor is solid – Samsung has its lawyers at the ready to strike back at the powerful juggernaut that is Apple (you might even say “empire”), starting with a countersuit over patents in Australia.

Engadget has the report by way of the Wall Street Journal, in which Samsung states that it’s suing Apple in Australia over patents it holds that the company claims Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2 violate. This follows a whole sordid situation in Australia, in which Samsung altered its Galaxy Tab 10.1 and let Apple take a look at it ahead of its launch in order to avoid another patent battle with Apple. As you might have guessed, Apple remained unconvinced that the rebel base was on Dantooine and went ahead and filed patent suits in Australia anyway.

Samsung’s countersuit is being filed before hearings that could ban the Samsung devices from sales in Australia, with Samsung claiming the iPhone and iPad 2 “violate a number of wireless technology patents held by Samusng,” according to Engadget. The Korean company is also appealing the rulings in Germany and The Netherlands.

Meanwhile, on its home turf of South Korea, Samsung isn’t reacting, it’s lying in wait. According to a story form TechCrunch, Samsung has patent suits waiting to be filed as soon as Apple releases its next iPhone (which is commonly referred to as the iPhone 5).

From the sounds of things, Samsung’s patents aren’t about the look of Apple’s devices, which is mostly what Apple has been complaining about when it comes to the Galaxy line of devices. Instead, Samsung claims that Apple’s devices’ very functionality violate its patents, according to this quote from the Korea Times:

For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.

That might be a pretty solid hint as to where Samsung’s attention is focused for its other countersuits, as well. The anonymous Samsung executive reportedly quoted above also told The Korea Times that the next iPhone will include near-field communication and e-wallet technology, a lot like Google Wallet, according to Apple Insider. Apple hasn’t announced anything to that effect (or anything at all, really), and there hasn’t been much in the way of rumors about that technology making it into the iPhone 5. If it does, though, it appears Samsung will be ready with its X-Wings. It may also need the help of The Force.

Obviously, this doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. At last check, as Apple Insider notes, there were at least 23 active suits between Apple and Samsung around the world.