updated 06:36 pm EDT, Wed October 24, 2012
Ruling heads to ITC board for review; could result in product bans
In an initial determination by Administrative Judge Thomas Pender at the US International Trade Commission, Samsung has been found to be in violation of four of Apple's patents, including one design patent. Separately, one utility and one design patent were found to have not been infringed by the Korean manufacturer. The ruling adds to Samsung's legal woes in the US and, if found to be valid by the ITC six-member commission, could result in sales bans of the infringing products in the US.
Apple filed the original complaint in June against six smartphones and two versions of the Galaxy Tab. Judge Pender issued the initial investigation a day early, after having shifted the due date last week to October 25, citing his own caseload on other matters, including two other cases involving Apple.
In regards to the initial ruling by Judge Pender, Samsung believes that "this initial determination could lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices for the American consumer. We remain confident that the full commission will ultimately reach a final determination that affirms our position that patent law must not be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure the availability of our innovative products for American consumers." Apple has made no statement on the initial finding.
Another initial determination from September found Apple to not be infringing on four of Samsung's patents. In that event, Judge James Gildea found two of the asserted patents as not infringed, and two as "standards-essential" patents, requiring fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory licensing by the Korean manufacturer. Apple argued in court that Samsung had never brought up possible violations until after it was warned about its own infringements and copying of Apple products, making the claim just a defensive bargaining chip.