In a classic tit-for-tat move that should surprise absolutely no one, Samsung Electronics has struck back at Apple with lawsuits in three countries alleging infringement of patents on smartphone technologies. "Samsung is responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business," the company said in a statement.

It was less than a week ago that Apple sued the Korean manufacturer alleging its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers copy Apple's popular iPad and iPhone. The lawsuit didn't point to specific trademarks or patents, but says the way Samsung has marketed and packaged its phone and tablet products are too similar to Apple's products, and that rather than innovate they just blatantly copied their technology, user interface and style.

Interestingly, Samsung doesn't seem to be challenging those claims directly, instead shifting the attention to a bunch of patents that Apple is allegedly infringing. The filing mentions 10 patents concerning reducing data transmission errors in WCDMA mobile networks, tethering mobile phones to PCs and use the phone's wireless data connection, and reducing power consumption when transmitting data over HSPA networks.

We'll have to wait and see where this goes but in the meantime Samsung and Apple will continue to do a lot of business together. Apple bought nearly $6 billion worth of Samsung components for its iPhone, iPad and iPod products last year, and according to COO Tim Cook's recent comments, this should not affect their ongoing business relationship.