ITC to revisit Samsung patent claims against Apple
Decision for South Koreans could see ban of iProducts in US market
The US International Trade Commission will re-examine a September decision by one of its judges that found Apple Inc was not in breach of patents owned by Samsung Electronics in making the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad, Reuters reported.
The ITC was at liberty to merely uphold Judge James Gildea's decision, but instead pledged to review the case. A final decision is expected in January and if the ITC find in favour of Samsung those Apple devices deemed to violate patents could be banned for sale in the United States.
The US trade authority has asked for briefings on how to assess patents that included industrial standards for interoperability. As interoperability serves consumers, antitrust officials have previously argued that patents of this nature should be licensed fairly and without prejudice and their holders should not be allowed to use the patents to bar competitors' devices from the market. Two patents in Samsung's complaint relate to standard essentials: 3G wireless networking and high-speed transmission data-packet formats.
The Apple and Samsung patent battle now spans 10 countries, Apple boasting the most significant win so far in August when a US jury decided the Cupertino-based firm's South Korean rival had copied key features of the iPhone. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages, but the ruling is under appeal.
The battle is part of a larger war on Google's Android operating system, which the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs denounced as "stolen". Android currently holds the number-one spot for device share in the smartphone market.