Apple Inc has sued Samsung Electronics claiming the South Korean firm's Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablets "slavishly" copies the iPhone and iPad, a move analysts say is aimed at keeping its close rivals at bay.
Samsung is one of the fastest growing smartphone makers and is Apple's strongest competitor in the booming tablet market. "If Apple fails to fend off Android, it will within a year or two find itself in a situation like (BlackBerry maker) Research in Motion, even if at a higher level," said Florian Mueller, a technology specialist and blogger on patent battles.
Apple's 16 claims against Samsung focus on Galaxy's design features, such as the look of its screen icons, the lawsuit, filed on Friday, said.
"This kind of blatant copying is wrong," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said in a statement. Samsung said it would respond to the legal action "through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property."