Samsung Backs Down, Won’t Block iPhone 4S Sales In South Korea

The iPhone 4S launched in South Korea this past Friday to the delight of the country’s Apple fans, but according to The Chosunilbo, Samsung very nearly threw a wrench into it. Samsung and Apple have been locked in a ongoing patent war in jurisdictions the world over, but Samsung has reversed their previous decision to block iPhone 4S sales in South Korea.

Company brass apparently debated filing an injunction against iPhone 4S sales until the eleventh hour before ultimately deciding to back down.

“We concluded that we should engage in legal battles with Apple only in the global market, but not in order to gain more market share in Korea,” an unnamed Samsung executive said.

It’s certainly good news for Apple, considering that Samsung was previously considering an aggressive defense of their patent portfolio back in September. At the time, a Samsung representative said that just as soon as the new iPhone arrives in South Korea, “Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents.”

So why the sudden about-face? Apparently, their hard-line stance against the iPhone 4S could make for a few PR issues. Even with all of Samsung’s clout in South Korea’s consumer electronics market, Apple fans wouldn’t take kindly to being deprived of their new iPhones. Samsung would be seen as throwing their considerable weight around to subdue competition, which is an image Samsung certainly wants to avoid at this point.

While the South Korean front seems to have grown a bit calmer, Apple and Samsung’s patent conflicts continue to escalate abroad. Samsung sought an injunction against Apple’s 3G products in Germany on Friday, while Apple was recently compelled to reveal the details of their Australian carrier agreements.