Apple may be up for a spot of bother with its iPhone 5, and as yet the product hasn’t even launched.

Both HTC and Samsung are readying their legal teams to meet Apple in court over its alleged infringement of their LTE 4G patents. Should they be successful, Apple’s iPhone 5 could be banned.

But lets not get carried away. The LTE chip is designed by Qualcomm, and Qualcomm has licenced its 3G/4G technology from patent holders, notes iDownloadBlog.

In addition, Apple has amassed a number of LTE based patents as part of an LTE patent consortium with EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. When all the LTE patents from Apple’s partners are combined, it would appear Apple has an excellent chance of defeating any lawsuits.

Added to that, many of Apple’s patents come from Nortel, and since Nortel was a leader in developing LTE, it’s hard to imagine Samsung has a legitimate case, notes Patently Apple.

Here’s a run down on the cases that HTC and Samsung may have against Apple:

HTC versus Apple

HTC has accused Apple of infringing two patents relating to 4G technologies and this HTC’s patent dispute with Apple “holds credence” according to US judge. The judge has said that Apple may struggle to invalidate HTC’s two LTE-related patents. If Apple is found guilty in infringing HTC’s patents, a U.S. import ban on iPad and iPhone 5 may very well come into affect, according to iPhone Informer’s report.

Samsung versus Apple

Also queuing up to give Apple a hard time is Samsung. According to The Korean Times, a Samsung source has confirmed that the company will sue Apple for “infringing on its fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity patents”.

The Samsung source said the company will take immediate legal action against Apple. “Countries in Europe and even the United States - Apple's home-turf - are our primary targets,” according to the source.

Another source notes: “Apple claimed the existing 3G-related patents are standard essential patents (SEPs) according to our earlier commitment to the FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms. But the story is totally different when you talk about LTE patents. These are new and highly-valued.” 

Here in the UK the LTE 4G status of the iPhone 5 is a moot point, as the iPhone will not be able to use any 4G networks here

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