Apple sues Samsung in Japan

Apple has sued Samsung in Japan, alleging that the company's phones and tablets copy the iPhone and iPad design, and demanding 100m yen ($1.3m) in damages along with a ban on sales. The latest in what has become a global IP campaign against Samsung, the first hearing took place on Wednesday this week Kyodo News reports, although the Korean firm apparently intends to fight the charges fiercely.

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

Samsung already faces similar court cases in the US, Europe and Australia, where different courts have already handed down varying degrees of judgement. In Germany, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch has been delayed, while a similar situation is taking place in Australia. There, the courts have asked to see Apple's iPad and iPad 2 sales stats for the US and UK in order to see whether suggestions that similarities in design have impacted demand hold water.

Meanwhile, Samsung was forced to yank the new Galaxy Tab 7.7 from its IFA 2011 launch display after Apple filed another successful injunction in Germany late last week. There's no word on when the Japanese courts will next sit to discuss Apple's most recent claims.