ITC to review decision that held Samsung in violation of four Apple patents

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The U.S. International Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that it will be reviewing an administrative law judge's initial determination that found Samsung to have violated a number of Apple patents.

In the notice of review, the ITC said it will both review ALJ Judge Thomas Pender's findings of infringement and has sent two of the four asserted Apple patents back to the jurist for reconsideration.

Judge Pender recommended in October that the trade agency institute a ban on U.S. imports of certain Samsung products found to infringe on three Apple utility patents and one design patent, including a touchscreen invention credited to late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. In addition to the multitouch patent, Judge Pender said Samsung was in infringement of Apple IP regarding a method for providing translucent images on a display, headset plug detection circuitry and the design of the original iPhone. Samsung was not found to be in violation of two other asserted patents.

The ITC remanded U.S. Patent No. RE41,922 and 7,912,501, respectively covering methods for displaying translucent images and audio jack detection, to Judge Pender for review.

Both Apple and Samsung requested the ITC to revisit the October determination, each party hoping for an more favorable final ruling from the six-member Commission that head the trade body.

From the ITC notice:

Having examined the record of this investigation, including the ALJ's final ID, the petitions for review, and the responses thereto, the Commission has determined to review the final ID in its entirety. The Commission does not seek further briefing at this time. Rather, the Commission remands the investigation to the ALJ with respect to certain issues related to the '922 patent and the '501 patent, as set forth in the accompanying Remand Order.
Apple first filed its ITC complaint in July 2011, when the company lodged a countersuit against Samsung's own complaint that requested an investigation over possible wireless patent violations pertaining to the iPhone, iPad and iPod product lines.

The ITC's Commission was originally scheduled to issue a final decision on March 27, but Wednesday's notice effectively pushes back the case's conclusion to an undetermined date.