A U.S. trade regulator has banned Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from importing several older models in its iPhone and iPad lines after Apple was found in violation of patents owned by archrival Samsung (OTC:SSNLF).
According to Reuters, Apple’s iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G have all been found to violate certain trademarks owned by Apple’s Korean competitor. As a result, the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent agency, has issued a limited order banning any import and sales for any of these models sold by AT&T.
The ruling, which overturned a 2011 ITC case stating Apple did not violate patents, found that Apple infringed on a Samsung patent relating to 3G technology. Samsung was found to have an exclusive patent on “the ability to transmit multiple services simultaneously and correctly.” Because the listed Apple devices rely on this method as well, the ITC found Apple in violation. But Apple was cleared of three other patent infringement claims by Samsung.
Though all the models at issue are more than a year old, they are still reliable sellers for the California tech giant. Apple maintains that the decision has no bearing on products currently for sale in the United States, but a spokeswoman also said the company will fight the ban.
"We are disappointed that the commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal. Today's decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States," Kristin Huguet said in a statement.
“Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world,” Huget continued. “They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.”
The exclusion order has been sent to President Barack Obama -- who has been the recipient of campaign money from Silicon Valley -- and can be overturned by either the White House or the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit within the next 60 days. It appears that Apple’s plan is to lobby either or both of the organizations for support.
Samsung praised the ITC ruling.
"We believe the ITC’s Final Determination has confirmed Apple's history of free-riding on Samsung's technological innovations," Samsung said in a statement. "Our decades of research and development in mobile technologies will continue and we will continue to offer innovative products to consumers in the United States.”