updated 12:05 am EST, Thu January 24, 2013
Two of the four patents found to be infringing headed to review
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced that it is going to review a preliminary ruling involving Apple and Samsung made in December. The ruling under review found Samsung in infringement of four Apple-held patents, with no violations of two others. Both Apple and Samsung filed a request for review of the initial rulings, seeking additional leverage over the other.
The initial ruling will now be passed back to Judge Thomas Pender, with further instructions from the commission concerning two of the four patents deemed to be infringing. After the judge rules again, the ITC commission itself will then commence the review, and ask Apple and Samsung for briefings on the review. If found to be valid by the ITC six-member commission, the ruling could result in sales bans of the infringing products in the US.
At this time, the review process could swing in either companies' favor. The process to review the ruling doesn't specify if the intent is to overturn the confirmed initial ruling by Judge Pender, or to solidify Apple's claim, and make a product embargo more likely.
Judge Pender, in his ">initial ruling, proposed a US import ban, a cease-and-desist order to impose an embargo on products already in the US, a bond of 88 percent of the value of all mobile phones affected by the ban, 32.5 percent of the value of all affected media players, and 37.6 percent of the value of all affected tablet computers found to infringe Apple's patents. The bond would be paid by Samsung to cover enforcement costs during the mandatory Presidential review period of the ITC's final judgement.
Judge Pender is required to set a target date for the review hearing within 30 days. After the review hearing, assuming the full commission agrees with the decision, the ruling becomes final after 50 days.
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 earlier than expected, after having shifting the due date to October 25. He cited his own caseload on other matters, including two other cases involving Apple, as the reason for the quicker ruling.
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.