Apple has dramatically raised the stakes in its patent war with rival phone manufacturer Samsung, saying the South Korean company should be barred from selling its new Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US.
The Galaxy Nexus is the first of a new generation of phones running the latest version of Google's Android operating system, and received rave reviews from critics when it launched in October.
But the product is one of a number of Samsung devices that infringe on patents held by Apple, the iPhone maker alleges in court documents. It copies Apple's Siri voice-recognition software and several iPhone features, including being able to dial a number directly from a website, it claims.
Apple failed to get an injunction against the sale of earlier Samsung devices while the two companies prepare to slug it out in court, but it says it is even more urgent to stop patent infringement on this new generation of phones.
"The smartphone market is at a critical juncture, as the overwhelming majority of consumers move to smartphones, and the consumers' long-term preferences and purchases may be determined to a great extent by the operating system on their first smartphone," Apple's lawsuit said.
Apple and Samsung accounted for 95 per cent of all the profits made by phone manufacturers in the final three months of 2011, over the crucial Christmas period, according to a research report by Canaccord Genuity. But the South Korean firm was a distant No 2, with 15 per cent to Apple's 80 per cent.
The patent war could have a big impact on that balance of power, since the company that emerges victorious will reap royalty payments from the other.
Samsung said yesterday: "We continue to assert our intellectual property rights and defend against Apple's claims to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business."