SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> said on Monday that it has filed preliminary injunction motions in Australia and Japan requesting the courts stop the sale of Apple Inc's <AAPL.O> iPhone 4S in an escalating legal battle between the two technology giants.

Samsung said earlier this month that it would seek sales bans of the latest iPhone in France and Italy less than a day after the device was unveiled, claiming the product infringed upon its patents.

"In light of these (patent) violations, Samsung believes the sale of such Apple devices should be banned," Samsung said in a statement.

Since April, Apple and Samsung have been locked in an acrimonious legal battle in 10 countries involving smartphones and tablet computers as they jostle for the top spot in the fast-growing markets. Apple is also Samsung's biggest customer, buying mainly chips and displays.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Chris Lewis)