ITC to review recent ruling that Apple’s devices don’t violate Samsung patents

The US International Trade Commission announced today that it will review a recent ruling made by ITC Judge James Gildea, who found that Apple’s devices don’t infringe on certain Samsung patents. The stakes, as with most ITC-level cases, are pretty high here, as an overturn by the Commission could result in banned iOS devices…

Reuters reports:

“The U.S. International Trade Commission will review a judge’s decision which found that Apple did not violate patents owned by Samsung Electronics in making the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.

An administrative law judge at the ITC had said in a preliminary ruling in September that Apple was innocent of violating the patents. The ITC, which could have opted to simply uphold the judge’s decision, said that it would take up the matter.

If Apple is found to infringe, its devices can be banned for sale in the United States.”

The two standard essential patents in the complaint, which was filed by Samsung in 2011, are related to 3G wireless technology and the format of data packets for high-speed transmission. Apple has tried repeatedly to get Samsung to license the patents under FRAND (fair and reasonable and non-discremenatory) terms to no avail.

But that’s not to say that it’s the good guy here. Samsung’s ITC complaint was actually a response to one filed by Apple, which alleged that the Korean tech giant blatantly copied its iPhone and iPad. On that front, the ITC again ruled in Apple’s favor, concluding that some of Samsung’s mobile products do in fact infringe on its patents.

Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to hear the outcome of these two cases. The ITC’s Samsung vs. Apple verdict is expected in January, and the Apple vs. Samsung one the following month. And as we’ve learned in the past, the Commission has no problem issuing country-wide sales bans for patent infringement, so this could get interesting.

Of course, what we’d really like to see is a stop to all this nonsense. Earlier this month, we got a glimmer of hope when HTC and Apple announced they had reached a 10-year, worldwide patent cross-licensing agreement. But unfortunately, it just doesn’t look like we’re going to see a similar settlement between Apple and Samsung.