ITC Bans Imports Of Older Apple iPhone And iPad Models
June 5, 2013

Samsung Succeeds In Getting Older Apple Products Banned

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Apple suffered their first loss in their longstanding battle with Samsung yesterday when the US International Trade Commission (ITC) placed a ban against older iPad and iPhone devices. Under the ban are iPad 2 3Gs and iPhone 4s which operate on AT&T, T-Mobile, and regional carriers in Alaska and Texas. The ITC placed the ban of imports after they ruled that these devices infringed on a patent held by Samsung. Newer versions of these products, like the iPhone 5 and most recent generations of iPad with Retina display are not affected by this ban. Apple has said they plan to appeal this ban, which can only be reversed by the White House or the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

In an earlier review of this case, one ITC judge found that Apple products did not infringe on the Samsung patents in question. Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet told All Things D they were surprised by yesterday´s decision, but claimed the decision would not be entirely damaging to the company.

“We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” said Huguet.

“Today´s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States. Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world. 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.”

Samsung, on the other hand, was understandably pleased with the ruling, saying in a statement: “We believe the ITC´s Final Determination has confirmed Apple´s history of free-riding on Samsung´s technological innovations.”

These two tech titans have been battling it out in courts across the world for the better part of three years. This specific ITC case began in 2011 when Samsung lobbed complaints against their most bitter rival.

Two of the four patents in this specific trial involve data transmission, the standards for which are utilized throughout the industry. The remaining patents at play in this trial cover the way phone numbers and web pages are detected, as well as the way the screen moves and reacts to being touched. The ITC ruled last September that Apple´s iPads and iPhones did not violate these patents, a ruling which Samsung requested the full commission to review. At the time, many analysts and legal experts claimed Apple was “bulletproof” against the ITC, but this week´s ruling suggests otherwise.

It has been pointed out that this decision likely won´t affect Apple too negatively. The number of devices that will be banned is expected to be small, and some analysts say they expect to see very minimal damage, if any. Maynard Um of Wells Fargo Securities told AppleInsider that he believes this will only affect iPhone 4s for about six weeks, or until Apple releases their next phone. Um believes that Apple will stick with what they´ve done in the past and kill off the three-year-old phone. Gene Munster also is expecting minimal damage and hasn´t adjusted his bullish view of the company.

"The actual impact will likely be less than 1 percent given AT&T customers that would not have a chance to purchase an iPhone 4 could buy an iPhone 4S or 5 instead," said Munster.

"Given the iPhone 4 will likely be retired at the end of September, there should not be an impact after the September quarter."