Samsung is seeking a ban on the import of Apple products into the US

The patent dispute between Apple and Samsung has escalated another few notches with Samsung’s announcement Wednesday that it will seek to ban imports of Apple’s devices into the United States.

In a statement issued by the South Korean manufacturer, it was revealed that the company had filed a complaint with the US International Trade Committee (USITC) requesting “relief in the form of a permanent exclusion order prohibiting entry to the United States of all Apple products in violation of Samsung patents.”

Samsung claims that Apple is violating five of its patents – two relating to “telecommunications standards” and three relating to “mobile devices and user interface inventions.” Some of the patents have initial filing dates going back to 1999 and the early 2000s; among them are a “method for dialling in a smartphone”, “user interface systems and methods for manipulating and viewing digital documents” and a “device and method for storing and reproducing digital audio data in a mobile terminal.”

In the US, the International Trade Commission has become an increasingly popular stage on which telecoms rivals hammer-out patent-related grievances. Apart from the fact that it’s perceived to offer speedier resolutions, its power to effect import bans is seen as part of the attraction for companies looking to get one up on a competitor.

Samsung’s latest move appears to be retaliation for Apple’s decision to file a suit against the company on its home turf in Seoul last week. Apple’s complaint: the Galaxy S is a mere copy of its iPhone. This latest legal challenge echoes the one that set the balling rolling back in April this year, when Apple accused its key supplier of “slavishly copying” its products, citing Samsungs Nexus S 4G, Galaxy Tab and Droid Charge among the devices. As the legal spat rumbled on, Samsung unsuccessfully attempted to subpoena prototypes of Apple’s next versions of the iPhone and iPad – a move Apple claimed merely underlined the S Korean firm’s eagerness to imitate its products. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab device has offered a robust challenge to the iPad on the sales front, shipping over 2 million units by early 2011.

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