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U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender has issued a preliminary ruling which finds that Samsung violated one of Apple's patents but did not infringe on another patent that was part of the same case. The case will now go to a three-judge panel which will decide whether or not to uphold the preliminary ruling.
According to Reuters, "Samsung Electronics Co Ltd infringed a key portion of an Apple Inc patent by including a text-selection feature in its smartphones and tablets, an International Trade Commission judge said in a preliminary decision. South Korean-based Samsung did not infringe portions of a second Apple patent that allows a device to detect if a microphone or other device is plugged into its microphone jack, the judge said in a decision that was issued on March 26 but kept confidential until late Thursday to allow the companies to redact sensitive business information."
Computerworld's Martyn Williams explained, "The patent in question concerns the selection of text on the browser of a handheld device by covering it with a translucent layer, where the layer becomes active for user inputs. Most smartphone users will be familiar with the method or something similar from when they press down on a word to copy or perhaps delete it."
ZDNet's Rachel King added, "Now the case will be presented before the entire commission with a vote expected this August to uphold or overturn today's ruling. If that vote goes in Apple's favor, it means that Samsung could be banned from selling products within the United States that infringe upon that patent."
SlashGear's Brian Sin observed, "This is just another chapter in the neverending Apple v. Samsung case. Judge Lucy Koh recently reduced $450 million from Samsung’s $1.05 billion judgement, and Apple is attempting to persuade Judge Koh to reinstate at least $85 million of that judgement. Samsung’s judgement may be reduced even further now that the USPTO has invalidated its 'Bounce-Back' patent yet again."