Even though a court ruling in August awarded a record sum of $1 billion in damages to Apple, after it took rival, South Korean firm Samsung, to court for patent infringement, the case itself is still making waves, as numerous rights of appeals and various rulings by different US governmental bodies, near weekly add new dimensions to the case. After a Californian court had decided in Apple’s favor, Samsung said that it would appeal the ruling, even calling for a retrial as it accused certain jury members of being biased. Following this, the US Patent Office found certain patents that were mentioned in the case as invalid and Apple not having any ownership of them. Now the latest addition to the case, which as the above, will surely have ramifications, as the US International Trade Commission (ITC), in a preliminary ruling, has found Samsung in infringement of four Apple patents, significant because the ITC has the authority to implement a trade ban, potentially blocking Samsung products from being sold in the US.
In the ruling, an ITC judge said that Samsung was in infringement of four of the six patents that Apple had listed in their complaint. The four patents identified by Judge Thomas Pender related to both software and hardware namely the design patent for an "ornamental design of an electronic device," touchscreen technology, translucent imaging and audio headset detection circuitry.
This marks yet another victory for Apple, which after the August court ruling, said that it would seek a sales ban on those Samsung products that were using its patents, including the South Korean firm’s flagship device, the Galaxy SIII. With the present ruling, there is a chance that Apple may indeed get its sales ban. However, in the ITC finding, the smartphones that have been found to infringe do not include the Galaxy SIII.
Responding to the ITC’s decision, a Samsung spokesperson said, “If left to stand, this initial determination could lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices for the American consumer. We remain confident that the full commission will ultimately reach a final determination that affirms our position that patent law must not be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure the availability of our innovative products for American consumers."
Surprisingly though, a Dutch court found that Samsung was not in infringement of Apple’s touchscreen technology and this just goes to show just how complicated the present matter is.
Of course, the present ITC ruling is only preliminary and a final decision will be made by a commission to take place sometime in February of next year.