Published : 2013-03-08 19:37
Updated : 2013-03-08 19:37
The U.S. International Trade Commission has postponed to next week its ruling on patent infringement claims filed by Samsung Electronics Co. against Apple Inc., a decision that may lead to an import ban on iPhones.
The ITC was originally scheduled to rule Thursday, but said it would delay its decision until March 13, according to its website.
In June 2011, Samsung Electronics filed a complaint with the U.S. government agency, claiming Apple products infringed on four of its technology patents, including those on data transmission and dialing.
The ITC is an independent federal agency, working with the Department of Commerce, and it determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries and directs actions against unfair trade practices, such as subsidies, dumping, patent, trademark and copyright infringements.
ITC Administrative Judge James Gildea dismissed those claims in a September preliminary ruling last year saying that no domestic industry exists for the four patents.
If the Washington-based trade agency reverses its previous decision and approves Samsung’s claims over any of the four patents in the March 13 ruling, Apple may be banned from importing its products manufactured by supplier plants outside the U.S.
Even if the decision is finalized with U.S. presidential approval, it is likely to have limited impact on Apple since Samsung’s complaints do not address some of the latest products such as the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini.
Samsung Electronics and Apple, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, have been in a protracted patent war to protect their stakes in the lucrative smartphone sector.
Earlier this month, the South Korean smartphone maker scored a victory on Apple’s home turf as U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh scaled back a previous penalty order worth $1.05 billion.
Koh ordered Samsung Electronics to pay Apple $598.9 million, roughly $450 million less than the initial decision, citing calculation errors in the U.S. jury’s decision. Samsung said this week it would ask for a further review of the damages.
In the meantime, Apple won a U.K. lawsuit filed by Samsung as part of the two companies’ global patent battle over technology used on mobile devices.
Judge Christopher Floyd in London invalidated Thursday the Korean company’s patents for technology allowing phones to send and receive information over third-generation mobile networks.
Samsung argued at two separate trials last year that Cupertino, California-based Apple had infringed three patents. The iPhone maker said the patents were invalid and, regardless, Samsung was required to license the technology under fair terms if it’s vital for connecting to modern networks, according to court filings.
Samsung and Apple have each tallied victories in patent disputes fought over four continents since the iPad maker accused Asia’s biggest electronics producer in April 2011 of “slavishly copying” its devices.
“It just marks another step in their global patent war,” said Gary Moss, a lawyer at EIP Partnership LLP who is not involved in the case. “Samsung does not seem to have had much luck so far.”
Nam Ki-yung, a spokesman at Suwon-based Samsung, said in an email the company was disappointed by the U.K. ruling and would review the judgment before deciding whether to appeal.
“For decades, we have heavily invested in pioneering the development of technological innovations in the mobile industry,” Samsung said in a statement. “We will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights.”
Apple spokesman Alan Hely declined to comment on the ruling.
While Apple settled its lawsuits with HTC Corp. in November, the company continues to wrestle with Samsung for dominance in the international mobile phone market. At stake is market share in the mobile-device market that researcher Yankee Group expects to double to $847 billion by 2016.