updated 10:15 am EDT, Wed June 29, 2011
Samsung ITC complaint steps up heat
A brief notice from Samsung has seen it escalate its legal responses to Apple by filing a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The company claims that the iPad and iPhone infringe on patents and is hoping to block imports of the devices into the US. More details of the complaint are unavailable.
The strategy is most likely a defensive measure against Apple's original lawsuit. Companies regularly use ITC complaints as bargaining chips in patent lawsuit cases as its faster processing and the threat of a trade ban can lead some companies to negotiate a settlement rather than fight a case in court.
Both Apple and Samsung have said they plan to stay business partners for components like flash memory and displays in spite of the lawsuits. Unlike Apple's settlement with Nokia, though, the pressure is mostly on Samsung and may lead to terms favorable to Apple. The American company has accused Samsung of copying the design of the iPhone and iPad with some Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab models, and in some cases the design cues are clear.
Apple hasn't commented on the ITC filing or said whether it will respond with an ITC dispute of its own. Its US lawsuit is based partly around trade dress and trademarks as well, making an ITC response more difficult.