updated 05:20 pm EDT, Wed July 6, 2011
Apple hits back at Samsung through ITC
(Update: devices, patents explained) Apple on Wednesday filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) over patent violations by Samsung devices. The dispute is a direct response to Samsung's ITC dispute and is expected to focus on Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab devices. A ruling that Samsung infringed patents could lead to the Android hardware being banned from import into the US.
The ITC challenge follows after a week where Samsung almost exclusively stepped up action to bolster its defense and also put heat on Apple to reach a compromise. Along with its own ITC filing, Samsung sued Apple again. It only dropped one lawsuit to simplify proceedings and brought two new patents into its defense.
An ITC filing is a common tactic since it can determine if a patent is being infringed more quickly than a trial lasting several months or years. Apple here is hoping for a stalemate that could lead Samsung to settle. In case the Samsung dispute fails, Apple has already called for a preliminary injunction that could ban some of Samsung's most important devices.
More details of Apple's ITC complaint are due soon.
Update: An exploration of the ITC complaint by Florian Mueller has detailed Apple's moves. The objections center on five patents for a heuristics-based touchscreen interface, translucent images, a "cantilevered push button," and two patents for detecting when a cable like a headphone is plugged in.
Eight devices are covered under the ITC dispute. Only the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 allegedly tread on all five patents. Six smartphones, including the Captivate, Fascinate, Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, Intercept, and Transform, supposedly violate only some of the patents. The Fascinate is considered the most frequent violator and is being challenged both on the two software-based patents and headphone jack detection, while most of the rest may violate at least the first patent.