Samsung upped the stakes in its patent dispute with Apple last week when it called on the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban imports of Apple’s iPhone and iPad from China, where they are made. Apple is expected to respond with a similar request, raising the possibility that the tech giants will be choked off from the American market. The two sides have traded accusations of copyright infringement since April, when Apple accused its South Korean rival of ripping off its smartphone and tablet designs. For its part, Samsung has filed similar lawsuits against Apple in Germany and Japan.
While Apple has dominated the tablet market, Samsung has emerged as a big player, too, and is expected to pass Nokia as the world’s top producer of smartphones this year. Ironically, the two companies have enjoyed a close business relationship. Apple is one of Samsung’s biggest buyers of computer chips and screens.