Juniper Research claims that Samsung sold more than 52 million smartphones in the second quarter of 2012. That’s double the number of iPhones that Apple sold in the same time period.

Samsung is the world’s largest maker of smartphones. In fact, it’s not even close, Juniper says.

“Samsung has taken a sizeable lead in the smartphone market in terms of unit shipments,” a Juniper Research press release notes. “In the second quarter of 2012, Samsung shipped 52.1 million smartphones, just over double the number shipped by its leading rival, Apple—26 million.

And Samsung isn’t just doubling Apple’s smartphone sales, it’s actually growing its lead over Apple by a sizable amount. In fact, Juniper claims that Samsung’s lead over Apple actually doubled quarter-on-quarter. The firm cites the release of the new Samsung flagship handset, the Galaxy S3, as playing a key role in this domination. Samsung sold more than 10 million Galaxy S3 handsets in June alone.

As for the remainder of the market, Juniper says that HTC sold 11.6 million smartphones in Q2 2012, followed by Nokia with 10.2 million units and Research In Motion (RIM), which sold 7.4 million BlackBerry handsets. Overall, Juniper estimates that buyers snapped up 132.9 million smartphones in Q2 2012, up from 105.2 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Apple will of course experience a temporary surge in the fourth quarter, as it did last year, thanks to its annual release strategy for the iPhone. But Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple in all of 2011 and continues to do so, in dominant form, in 2012.

Samsung and Apple, of course, are involved in various legal battles around the world related to patents for smartphones and tablets, and while the two firms are also partners, these battles are starting to get ugly. A UK court recently ruled that Samsung did not copy the design of the iPad when it created its own tablet, and it has ordered Apple to publish a notice of this fact on its website and in British newspaper ads for six months. On the flipside, a US court ruled that Samsung was “flooding the market” with products that potentially infringe on Apple products and slammed Samsung with an injunction.