Samsung may add iPhone 5 to patent war

South Korea's Samsung Electronics said Friday it was considering adding Apple's new iPhone 5 to a patent infringement case as part of a long-running global legal battle between the rival smartphone giants.

Samsung officials said the company would look into amending its side of an ongoing patent lawsuit in a US court to include the latest Apple gadget, which went on sale across Asia Friday and is due to hit US stores later in the day.

"Our company considers adding Apple's iPhone 5 to the (patent infringement) case... but we cannot say when," a Samsung spokesman told AFP.

"Our decision will be made after our company has analysed the iPhone 5 to see what aspects of its device constitutes patent infringement."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted market watchers as saying Samsung may use its long-term evolution (LTE) patent portfolio to attack the iPhone 5 -- the first Apple phone to use the fourth-generation telecom network.

Samsung and Apple -- respectively the world's number one and two smartphone makers -- have been at loggerheads over dozens of patent lawsuits in 10 nations, accusing each other of copying technologies and designs.

Last month, a California court ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 billion for patent infringement. The South Korean firm has appealed the decision.

Samsung, in a statement late Thursday, accused Apple of continuing to take "aggressive legal measures that will limit market competition".

It added: "Under these circumstances, we have little choice but to take the steps necessary to protect our innovations and intellectual property rights."

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