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Friday, August 09, 2013, 02:21 pm PT (05:21 pm ET)

Apple wins ITC ban on Samsung products [updated with ITC's final determination]

Apple was dealt a significant win in its ongoing patent duel with Samsung on Friday when the U.S. International Trade Commission handed down a ruling that will likely see the ban of infringing products made by the South Korean company.

ITC



The ITC's final determination found Samsung to have infringed on two Apple patents, one for a touchscreen control method and another for headphone I/O tech, which means an import ban on offending products has been ordered, reports FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller.

Before the ban can take effect, it must undergo a 60-day Presidential review period that could see a reversal of the ITC order. Such was the case with a recent Samsung complaint against Apple, which saw the ITC's ban of older devices like the iPhone 4 reversed by a veto from the U.S. Trade Representative.

Mueller points out that the effect of Friday's import ban is depends largely on the workarounds Samsung applies to infringing products. These product adjustments can, at times, come in the form of tweaked capabilities, or even the outright removal of features. It remains to be seen what Samsung will choose to do with the devices, but the ITC order will likely have some sort of impact on the company's product line moving forward.

Friday's ruling is the result of an investigation into Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender's initial determination from October 2012, which found Samsung to have infringed on Apple's patents. Both parties were unsatisfied with the jurist's decision and brought the issue to the Commission hoping for further clarification.

The trade body agreed to investigate, subsequently remanding two patents-in-suit back to Judge Pender. The Commission's final determination is based on the remand initial determination, as well as a full review of the case and parties' arguments.

Update: Samsung later had this to say about Friday's decision (via The Verge):
We are disappointed that the ITC has issued an exclusion order based on two of Apple’s patents. However, Apple has been stopped from trying to use its overbroad design patents to achieve a monopoly on rectangles and rounded corners. The proper focus for the smartphone industry is not a global war in the courts, but fair competition in the marketplace. Samsung will continue to launch many innovative products and we have already taken measures to ensure that all of our products will continue to be available in the United States.


Apple's statement reads more like boilerplate:
With today's decision, the ITC has joined courts around the world in Japan, Korea, Germany, Netherlands and California by standing up for innovation and rejecting Samsung's blatant copying of Apple's products. Protecting real innovation is what the patent system should be about.