Thursday, August 1, 2013

ITC postpones final ruling on Apple's complaint against Samsung by eight days to August 9, 2013

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC, or ITC) has just given notice of its decision to postpone by eight days its final ruling on Apple's patent infringement complaint against Samsung. The ruling was scheduled for today, and widely anticipated, but we'll all have to wait another week to find out.

In an October 2012 preliminary ruling, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Thomas Pender found Samsung to infringe four valid Apple patents (one design patent and three technical patents). Prior to the full review that is now ongoing, the Commission, the six-member decision-making body at the top of the U.S. trade agency, had remanded certain issues to the ALJ, and the remand resulted in a finding of additional violations by Android's text selection feature.

August 9 is an important date for the wider Apple-Samsung dispute. On that day, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is going to hold a hearing on Apple's appeal of a district court's denial of a permanent injunction against multiple Samsung products over half a dozen patents found infringed.

Today's postponement has the effect that an import ban Samsung won against older iPhones and iPads in early June will, unless vetoed by the United States Trade Representative, take effect before a final ruling on Apple's complaint, which will then be followed by the statutory 60-day Presidential review period if Apple obtains an exclusion order. The Presidential review period for the limited exclusion order obtained by Samsung ends this weekend. There has been more and more support for a Presidential veto, particularly from a bipartisan group of United States Senators. Today a Washington, DC-based antitrust lawyer published an opinion piece arguing that "[the] White House Should Rein In the ITC On [Standard-Essential Patents]".

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