Samsung to booby-trap iPhone 5 launch with LTE patent strike

Samsung is aiming to hijack Apple's new iPhone 5 launch by miring its rival in LTE patent litigation, sources at the company have apparently confirmed, echoing Apple's attempts to injunction new Samsung phones. "Samsung Electronics has decided to take immediate legal action against the Cupertino-based Apple" an unnamed insider told The Korea Times. "Countries in Europe and even the United States – Apple's home-turf – are our primary targets."

The strategy, if enacted as the sources claim, would follow a path already established by Apple at the launch of the Galaxy S III earlier in 2013. Apple attempted to secure a US sales ban - as well as injunctions in other countries, including Samsung's own South Korea home – as soon as the Galaxy S III launched, citing patent infringement.

That sales ban failed to materialize, though sales of some of Samsung's range were affected in other countries as Apple's legal team sniped down tablets and phones alike. This time around, it's apparently Samsung's turn to wield the patent portfolio.

Samsung will apparently use its strengths in LTE development to show the courts that Apple has infringed on 4G technologies, arguing that the FRAND defense Apple used in previous litigation around 3G patents won't hold up again.

"Apple claimed the existing 3G-related patents are standard essential patents (SEPs) according to our earlier commitment to the FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms" an unnamed source told the Korean paper. "But the story is totally different when you talk about LTE patents. These are new and highly-valued."

Apple has apparently already feathered its LTE patent nest, buying or filing 434 4G patents so as to fend off any attacks from Samsung or others. That's gotten off to a shaky start, however; attempts to have HTC LTE patents invalidated faced stronger than expected push-back from the US judiciary.

Assuming no challenges to sales are permitted, Apple is expected to sell as many as 10m iPhone 5 handsets in September 2012 alone.