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US trade watchdog: Samsung violated 4 Apple patents

Posted October. 26, 2012 01:35,   


The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a preliminary ruling against Samsung Electronics on Wednesday that the Korean company violated four Apple patents. Samsung immediately decided to request a review on the case.

A quasi-law enforcement institution for trade conflicts, the U.S. commission considers patent infringement as an unfair trade practice and can advise the president to prohibit import of the item. If such advice is made, the chief executive is expected to make a decision on the case within 60 days.

If the commission maintains its stance in the final judgment within Feb. 25 next year, Samsung can be forced to stop U.S.-bound exports of smartphones such as the Galaxy S, Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus as well as about 20 types of tablet PCs including the Galaxy Tab.

According to the preliminary ruling posted on the commission`s website, among the six patents Apple claimed Samsung was infringing on, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender accepted four, namely one patent related to the iPhone`s design and three commercial patents.

More specifically, the ruling includes a diamond-shaped hole in the front of the phone (design patent infringement), translucent icons of applications, a technology that automatically detects the connection of a jack on the phone, and another that enables users to move the screen in four directions regardless of touch direction.

Though the commission reconfirmed the preliminary ruling in its final decision, Samsung can still sell its products that do not fall into any of the four categories. Apple, however, might further request the commission to prohibit the import of the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 and other Samsung products because the technologies the watchdog considered patent infringements are the ones applied to Samsung’s latest products.

Based on trade practices, the preliminary ruling is unlikely to be changed in favor of Samsung. Oh Se-joon, a patent attorney at Haeoreum International Patent & Law Offices, said, “Barring a significant reason to change, the preliminary ruling will prevail in the final decision.”

Samsung said in an official comment, “We are confident that we will win in the final decision.” Despite this stance, Samsung insiders seemed baffled by the ruling of the U.S. commission. In the Korean company`s lawsuits against Apple around the world, the U.S. is the lone country that ruled against Samsung. The trade commission also recently mentioned problems in Apple`s legal victory over Samsung in the San Jose Northern District Court.

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