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Apple unlikely to face legal trouble over new iPad in South Korea

The new iPad will launch in Samsung's homeland on Friday 20 April

Apple's new iPad will go on sale in South Korea - the homeland of Samsung - this Friday, though concerns that the device's launch could lead to legal trouble are unwarranted, a patent expert has said.

Samsung and Apple have been involved in a patent war concerning Apple's iPhone and iPad and Samsung's Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets in courtrooms around the world for many months, but Florian Mueller, patent expert and creator of the Foss Patents blog, reckons Samsung will adopt a 'softly softly' approach with this latest launch.

Despite Samsung having filed a lawsuit against Apple in South Korea only a month ago, with Samsung alleging infringements of patents relating to displaying data, the user interface and text messages in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, Mueller believes Samsung's approach on its home turf is more considered than in other countries, largely due to the risk of Apple trying to counter-sue.

"Thus far, Samsung has been careful not to play the South Korean card too aggressively. [Samsung] accounts for a double-digit percentage of the country's gross domestic product, which makes these cases delicate for local judges whichever way they decide and no matter how independent they are," Mueller told Macworld.

Though Samsung and Apple's relationship in courtrooms around the world is frosty to say the least, the two companies do depend on each other to a large extent, with Apple using Samsung-made components in many of its devices.

Apple vs Samsung in 2011

As well as South Korea, the new iPad will also launch in Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, St Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela on Friday.

From next Friday, 27 April, the new iPad will be available in Colombia, Estonia, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa and Thailand.

Another interesting point to note is Apple's carefully-worded press release announcing the countries getting the new iPad. A reference to '4G' is accompanied by two asterisks, with a note at the end of the release reading: "4G LTE is supported only on AT&T and Verizon networks in the U.S. and on Bell, Rogers and Telus networks in Canada. Data plans sold separately."

Apple was chastised by the Australian advertising regulator over its use of the term 4G in marketing campaigns in the country, with Apple offering refunds to anyone who felt that they had been duped into buying the device.

Earlier this month the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that it had launched an investigation into Apple's use of the 4G term in its advertising in the UK.

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