U.S. ITC will review Apple, Samsung patent decision

Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:13pm EST
 

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission will review a judge's decision which found that Apple did not violate patents owned by Samsung Electronics in making the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.

An administrative law judge at the ITC had said in a preliminary ruling in September that Apple was innocent of violating the patents. The ITC, which could have opted to simply uphold the judge's decision, said that it would take up the matter. A final decision is expected in January.

If Apple is found to infringe, its devices can be banned for sale in the United States.

Apple and Samsung have taken their bruising patent disputes to some 10 countries as they vie for market share in the booming mobile industry.

Apple won a huge victory in August when a U.S. jury found the South Korean firm had copied key features of the iPhone. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages. That ruling is under appeal.

In its announcement that it would review the case, the ITC asked for briefings on how it should consider standard essential patents, which are normally expected to be licensed widely and on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The use of standards helps companies ensure devices are interoperable.

Some antitrust enforcers have argued that it is wrong for companies which own standard essential patents to ask for infringing devices to be barred from the country except in extreme instances.

The commission is reviewing a decision by ITC Judge James Gildea, who said in September that Apple did not violate the four patents at issue in the case, which was filed in mid-2011.   Continued...

 
A customer looks over the iPad mini after the device went on sale at Apple's retail store in Palo Alto, California November 2, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith