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Apple Infringed on Samsung's Patent: USITC

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 05, 2013 12:58 PM

Apple violated Samsung’s patents on older model iPhones and iPads according to a U.S. trade agency opinion issued Tuesday, a violation which has prompted a ban on sale of most older model iPhones and iPads.

In an order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), the federal agency barred the import and sale of the AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G, reports Reuters.

This ruling is the latest judicial missive in what has been a protracted and costly legal battle between the two electronic giants, but who will win?

Impact of Apple Sale/Import Ban

This decision to ban sale of the earlier model iPhones and iPads does not go into effect immediately, and President Obama has two months to review and possibly veto the order, reports The New York Times.

Fear not, American consumers! Kristin Huguet of Apple wanted to assure the American public that this decision has "no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States," reports All Things D.

Although the USITC order says different, Samsung is certainly putting the screws to Apple in their European and other international sales, and they're using the USITC as their patent enforcer.

Portal to Quick Patent Enforcement

This decision comes as a bit of a surprise after a federal jury in 2012 awarded Apple over a billion dollars for Samsung infringing on Apple's patents for smartphones and tablets.

Samsung was not exactly pleased as punch with the judge's determination of their patent claims, so they petitioned along with USITC to review the patent claims, and the federal agency ruled that the '348 patent was infringed for purposes of Section 337 of Tariff Act of 1940.

Although patent enforcement in the courts may take substantially more time, companies like Samsung have learned that by involving the USITC to enforce a violation of 19 U.S.C. 1337a(b)(i), they can have the Commission take a second look at their patent claims.

Clash of Executive Orders

The USITC may not be as open to these sorts of shenanigans after President Obama's recent executive order titled "Strengthen Enforcement Process of Exclusion Orders."

The order calls for an interagency review of the procedures the USITC uses for Section 337 violations and may tighten the patent review loophole.

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