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Samsung Loses Latest Round in Smartphone Battle

post Tuesday October 15, 2013

Tags: apple, patent litigation, samsung

Black smartphone - freedigitalphotos

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled that for some smart phones and tablets Samsung violates two of Apple’s patents. As a result of the ruling, Samsung faces a ban on importation and sales of these products in the US.

Samsung infringes the patents number 7,479,949, relating to touch screen technology, and number 7,912,501, dealing with ability to ascertain that something is plugged into a headphone jack. The ITC also investigated possible violation of 4 additional patents of Apple. However, the ITC found no infringement for these cases.

All eyes were on president Obama, who has the option to overrule the decision of the ITC. In an earlier case, Obama overruled the decision of the ITC to Apple’s benefit. That veto was the first since 1987 and involved a policy issue under debate in Congress and the courts. Samsung stated “The world is watching how Samsung is treated by the United States in this ‘smartphone war’ … The administration has a significant interest in avoiding the perception of favoritism and protectionism toward U.S. companies”. However, Obama decided not to veto this ban won by Apple. Obama’s designee, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said “After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow the import ban”. According to the statement, the nationality of the two companies played no role in the review process.

Different than Apple, Samsung has dozens of smartphone models on the market. The import ban is applicable for a limited number of Samsung’s products. Flagship Galaxy S4 was not part of the case; the ITC said that Samsung’s newer models had worked around the two Apple patents.

Samsung and Apple are the biggest players in the global smartphone market. Patent litigation has cost them hundreds of dollars in legal fees, with each seeking the biggest prize of limiting the other’s sales in the US.

The battle continues…

Source: Bloomberg, IAM magazine, TechCrunch

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