Samsung may already be preparing legal assault on Apple's new iPad

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Samsung has called for a last-minute hearing for its ongoing lawsuit with Apple in Australia, prompting speculation that the company is preparing to attack the company's newly announced iPad.

Samsung called for the emergency hearing late Wednesday, after Apple's new iPad was announced, according to ITnews. Details of what Samsung plans to discuss are unknown, but the timing suggests the South Korean electronics maker could be looking to block the March 16 launch of the iPad in Australia.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday local time in the courtroom of Justice Annabelle Bennett. That's the same judge who granted an injunction to Apple last year, temporarily barring sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

If Samsung does attempt to block the launch of the new iPad in Australia, it wouldn't be the first time the company has reacted quickly to a product announcement from Apple. Last October, almost immediately after Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, Samsung filed for injunctions in France and Italy attempting to bar sales of Apple's handset at launch. But those efforts by Samsung failed, and Apple's international launch of the iPhone 4S went off without any legal issues.

Apple will launch its new iPad next Friday in a total of 10 countries, making it the largest launch yet for the company. The third-generation iPad is scheduled to launch in Australia along with the U.S, Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Separately, Samsung this week also filed a new infringement suit against Apple in its home country of South Korea. That complaint takes aim at the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, accusing the products of infringing upon three patents.

Apple and Samsung have filed more than 30 lawsuits against one another across the globe, and their legal showdown now spans 10 countries. Apple has offered settlements to Samsung, as well as Motorola, in which the iPhone maker has sought between $5 and $15 per Android-based handset sold, in return for dropping its own patent infringement claims, but no such deals have been agreed upon.