Saturday, June 15, 2024

ITC Bans Import of Older iPhones, iPads

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Apple has previously won most of the battles in its ongoing patent war with Samsung, but Samsung chalked up a big win this week when the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that some iPhones and iPads infringe on Samsung’s standards-essential patents. The ITC has now banned import of those devices.

PCMag’s Chloe Albanesius reported, “The International Trade Commission this week banned the sale of older iPhone and iPad models in the U.S. after finding that they infringe on a patent held by Samsung. Specifically, the ruling affects the AT&T versions of the iPhone 3G, 3GS, iPhone 4, and the AT&T 3G versions of the iPad and iPad 2. Newer versions of Apple iPad and iPhone are not affected.”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Susan Decker noted, “The ITC’s import-ban order is subject to review by President Barack Obama. The president can overturn it on public-policy grounds, though that rarely happens. Apple can keep selling the devices during the 60-day review period. ‘Historically, the president does not interfere in these sorts of things,’ said Lyle Vander Schaaf, a patent lawyer with Brinks Hofer in Washington. ‘It shows the commission is a very bold agency that they are willing to take these steps despite the popularity of the Apple products.'”

All Things D quoted Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet, who said, “We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal. Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States. Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world. 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.”

Florian Mueller with FOSS Patents commented, “This decision is a major surprise…. I can’t believe that the ITC has completely thrown out Apple’s FRAND defense (“[t]he Commission has determined that Samsung’s FRAND declarations do not preclude [import bans]”), taking a position that is fundamentally inconsistent not only with how U.S. federal courts have recently adjudged SEP-based injunction requests but also with opinions expressed by antitrust regulators and, especially, U.S. lawmakers.”

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