US agency in hot seat over Samsung vs. Apple
By Cho Ji-hyun, The Korea Herald/ANNSEOUL--The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is stuck between a rock and a hard place over the patent infringement cases filed by Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. against each other.
March 12, 2013, 12:19 am TWN
While it would most likely run into difficulty banning products of the Cupertino-based company on its home turf, it may also be afraid of “protectionism” claims if it chooses to block U.S. imports of Samsung, which is the world's biggest smartphone and TV maker by shipments.
The U.S. trade agency announced Thursday, local time, that the ruling on the patent infringement claim filed by Samsung against its rival Apple would be postponed to March 13 without stating any specific reason.
This was not the first but the third time that the ITC delayed the decision-making process since stating that it would revisit the case “in its entirety” last November.
In September of last year, Judge James Gildea of the ITC had ruled that Apple did not violate any of the four Samsung patents that were in question. The claim was raised by the Suwon-based IT behemoth in June 2011.
“I believe this indicates that the decision may turn somewhat in favor of the Korean firm since it is unlikely for the U.S. trade agency to defer the process so many times,” said an industry insider.
Two of Samsung's patents in dispute cover transmission technology, the third detects phone numbers from an email or Web page and the last is a patent technology that moves the document display page with the user's finger.
Apple's nine devices in dispute are: the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad 3G, iPad 2 and iPad 2 3G.
Local patent experts have said that the ITC's decision to give the case a second look was “unprecedented” and that it was a positive sign for Samsung.
The ITC in Washington has the authority to ban imports of patent-infringing products into the U.S., which is one of the world's top consumer markets.
Decisions reached by the ITC are often considered to be more reasonable because the ITC administrative law judges must provide a more detailed technical justification for their ruling compared to a jury. Its final determination also undergoes a presidential review.
Samsung, however, is not the only one raising its case at the ITC. Apple is also waiting for a preliminary decision from the trade agency on April 1 involving an intellectual property infringement case it filed against Samsung in July 2011.
With the initial ruling on the blocking of Samsung products to be released within a month, the final ruling is set to be released on Aug. 1.
ITC Judge Thomas Pender said on Oct. 24 of last year that Samsung had violated four Apple patents, including one for the design of the iPhone.