Apple will not face major setback after ITC ruling in Samsung patent case

Telecom Lead India: Tuesday’s U.S. International Trade Commission ruling will not be a major setback for Apple in its patent battle against smartphone rival Samsung.

ITC on Tuesday banned Apple from selling its iPhone 4 and a variant of the iPad 2 in the U.S. market after finding the devices violate a patent held by South Korean rival Samsung.

Though Apple cannot sell these devices in the U.S. mobile market because the devices are assembled in China, it will not significantly impact the devices major. This is primarily because Tuesday’s ITC ruling applies only to the AT&T version of the phone.

Interestingly, Apple is likely to retire the model in a few months with the launch of this year’s new iPhone model. The iPhone 4 was launched in 2010 and is the oldest iPhone still sold by Apple.

The ruling also applies to older iPhones, though these are no longer sold by Apple.

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Samsung cannot cheer at present as President Barack Obama has 60 days to invalidate the ITC order. Obama is against import bans on the basis of the type of patent at issue in the Samsung case.

On Tuesday, the White House issued a recommendation to Congress that it limit the ITC’s ability to impose import bans in these cases.

Apple said it was disappointed with the ruling and will appeal.

In the ongoing patent battle across the world, Apple arguing that Samsung and its Android phones copy vital features of the iPhone. Samsung is fighting back with its own complaints, AFP reported.

In 2012, a federal court in San Francisco ruled that Samsung owed Apple $1 billion in damages for infringing on non-essential Apple patents. But the judge refused to impose an import ban on Samsung phones, and later struck $450 million from the verdict, saying the jurors miscalculated. The case is set for a rematch in appeals court.

“Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world,” Apple said. “They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.”

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