Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

U.S. Trade Agency Bans Import of Some Samsung Products

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

U.S. Trade Agency Bans Import of Some Samsung Products

Article excerpt

The U.S. International Trade Commission upheld a preliminary finding that Samsung's mobile products had violated two Apple patents.

A U.S. trade agency has banned the import of some products made by Samsung Electronics, another victory for Apple in its continuing patent feud with the South Korean company.

The U.S. International Trade Commission upheld a preliminary finding that Samsung's mobile products had violated two Apple patents. The decision, unless vetoed by President Barack Obama, will result in an import ban on some of Samsung's mobile devices.

The commission's order did not specify which Samsung products would be banned. But Susan Kohn Ross, an international trade lawyer for Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, said that because Apple had initially brought its lawsuit against Samsung in 2011, it most likely would affect older products. Ms. Ross said the only thing clear about the decision was that it gave Apple serious leverage in its battle with Samsung. The South Korean company could be more willing to concede in its future disputes with Apple to avoid additional patent problems in the United States, she said.

The decision Friday was the latest in a string of victories for Apple in its patent disputes with Samsung. The previous week, the Obama administration vetoed the federal commission's ban on Apple mobile products in a separate case brought by Samsung.

Also Friday, Apple made arguments to a federal appeals court for a permanent injunction against the sale of some Samsung products, a request that had previously been denied. The court has not yet released a decision.

Apple and Samsung, which together make all the profits in the handset industry and dominate worldwide smartphone sales, have been fighting each other with patents in the United States and other countries. Last year, a California jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages after deciding that Samsung had violated the U.S. company's mobile patents. The amount was later reduced to $599 million.

In the case with the trade commission Friday, Apple accused Samsung of violating four patents, including a design patent for the general look of an iPhone -- a rectangle with rounded corners -- and a utility patent for a method to detect when headphones are plugged into a device. …

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