Samsung Electronics Co. will get another chance to convince a U.S. trade agency that Apple Inc.’s iPhone, iPad iPod touch infringe its patents.
The International Trade Commission said it will review “in its entirety” a trade judge’s Sept. 14 findings that cleared Apple of violating four Samsung patents. The commission, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents, is to issue a final decision Jan. 14.
The ITC could have opted to simply uphold the judge's decision.
If Apple is found to infringe, its devices can be banned for sale in the United States.
In its announcement that it would review the case, the ITC asked for briefings on how it should consider standard essential patents, which are normally expected to be licensed widely and on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, Reuters reported. The use of standards helps companies ensure devices are interoperable.
Some antitrust enforcers have argued that it is wrong for companies which own standard essential patents to ask for infringing devices to be barred from the country except in extreme instances.
The case is one front of a global dispute between the two biggest makers of mobile devices as they fight for the $219 billion smartphone market.
“We remain confident that the commission will reach a final determination that affirms our position that Apple must be held accountable for free-riding on our technological innovations,” said Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, according to Bloomberg.
Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said the company had no comment.
Samsung needs a victory to help drag out litigation while it designs around the Apple patents, Erin-Michael Gill, managing director of MDB Capital Group LLC, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based investment bank that specializes in patent issues, told Bloomberg.
“An exclusion order would be lose-lose for them” Gill said. “Samsung suppliers are being pushed to ensure their innovations are beyond what Apple has patented.”
Apple won a huge victory in August when a U.S. jury found that Samsung had copied key features of the iPhone. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages. That ruling is under appeal.