Samsung Electronics Co. (>> Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.) was granted permission by a U.S. judge Thursday to include Apple's iPhone 5 in its litigation against the California company, escalating the patent dispute between the two companies.
According to court documents, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal accepted Samsung's revised petition to amend its infringement contentions to include Apple's latest smartphone, which is seeing strong demand from consumers globally.
Separately, the judge also accepted Apple's motion to amend its lawsuit to include new Samsung products including the Galaxy Note 10.1, the U.S. version of Samsung's popular smartphone, the Galaxy S III and the Jelly Bean operating system.
Apple first sued Samsung early last year alleging that the South Korean company copied the design and the feel of its iPhone and iPad tablet computer. Samsung counter sued, alleging that Apple violated Samsung's telecommunications patents. Since then, the two companies have been battling it out in courts world-wide accusing one another of patent violations, with more than 50 different cases in about 10 countries including South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia.
In August, Apple won the first U.S. case, with a judge ordering Samsung to pay the U.S. company $1.05 billion in damages. Samsung is in the midst of appealing the ruling. The current case isn't set to go to trial until 2014.
"Apple should think twice before opposing similar amendments reflecting other newly related products--the iPad 4 and iPad mini--that Samsung may propose in the near future," the judge wrote in the court filing.
The battle for dominance in the smartphone market is heating up. In the third quarter, Samsung's smartphone market share rose to 31.3% from 22.7% a year earlier, according to market research firm IDC. Apple trailed in second place with market share of 15%, which rose from 13.8% a year earlier.
Samsung and Apple can now seek sales bans of the products before the latest cases go to trial. However, neither was successful in getting a meaningful ban on the other in the first U.S. case.
Samsung said it had sold 30 million Galaxy S III smartphones as at the end of October, just five months after its introduction. Meanwhile, Apple is struggling to meet demand for iPhone 5s as well as supplier issues. In September, when Apple first began selling the new smartphone, the company said initial supplies sold out. First weekend sales were a record.
A Samsung spokesman said the company didn't immediately have comment, while an Apple declined to comment.
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