Samsung, Apple to face U.S. ITC ruling this weekend
Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc., locked in global patent war, will face a preliminary ruling by a U.S. trade regulator this weekend, the first to come in the U.S. following a jury decision in favor of the iPhone maker in late August, market watchers said Monday.
On Saturday Korean time, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is set to issue a preliminary conclusion regarding the complaint Samsung filed against Apple in June 2011. Samsung has sought a ban against U.S. imports of several Apple gadgets, including iPhones and iPads, for the Silicon Valley firm's alleged infringement of four U.S. patents, including those on wireless technology.
While the initial decision may be reversed later, a ruling in favor of Samsung may bolster the company's position following its crushing defeat in August, when a U.S. jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple US$1.05 billion in damages, while denying the Korean company's claims.
"The prospect of a technically impactful or (in the event of standard-essential patents) truly devastating import ban would suddenly put Samsung in a stronger position," patent expert Florian Mueller wrote in his blog.
"Compared to such an import ban, a billion-dollar damages verdict and the possibility of an injunction over patents that can be worked around and designed around are minor issues," he said.
Separately, the ITC is set to issue a preliminary ruling on Oct. 19 regarding Apple's complaint against Samsung. In July 2011, Apple countered Samsung's complaint by seeking a ban against Samsung's alleged infringements of its design and utility patents.
The ITC decisions are part of the two companies' high-stakes patent war that spans four continents. Most recently, the two companies went head-to-head in a hearing at a court in The Hague on Sept. 7.
In addition to the ITC's preliminary ruling, Samsung and Apple are set to face off in a hearing in a Mannheim, Germany court on Friday, which is set to be followed by a verdict issuance on Sept. 21.
The legal tussle also continues on Samsung's home turf. In the latest development, Apple filed for a stay on a Seoul district court's Aug. 24 ruling that ordered both companies to ban sales of some products and pay each other for damages.
A Samsung spokesman declined to comment on whether Samsung plans to file for a similar motion.
In a widely-expected move, both companies appealed the Aug. 24 decision to a higher Seoul court last week. (Yonhap)