An ongoing patent war between technologies conglomerates Apple and Samsung ordinarily ends with Apple being the victor. The tables have turned recently when a trade agency ruled that several of Apple’s older products violate a Samsung patent and as a result a ban was ordered on these products in the United States.
According to the International Trading Commission the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3 models that are adaptable to AT&T as well as the AT&T 3G-connected version of the iPad and iPad 2 are prohibited from being imported or sold in the US. The specific patent that is infringed upon is a Samsung patent for encoding mobile communications. This will have no impact on more recent products created by Apple such as the iPhone 5, which harnesses different technology than past products.
The ITC is required by law to send any exclusion orders to the president. The president has 60 days to review and veto this order. If President Obama chooses to not strike down these orders than the decision from the ITC is final, barring no appeal from Apple. The ban is already in question because of executive orders issued by Mr. Obama with the purpose of tightening regulation at the Patent and Trademark Office. One order from the president, with direct correlation to this current decision from the commission, labeled “Strengthen Enforcement Process of Exclusion Orders,” which calls for a strict review of the procedures that the International Trade Commission uses to enforce exclusion orders.
Because Apple can appeal the decision to Federal Court, and Apple plans on doing so, the decision will have no affect on the sales and importation of these products in the US, until the case is final. Last year, after a long process, a California jury found that Samsung products infringed on Apple patents for software features such as double-tap zooming and scrolling. Likewise to this instance, the final ruling in that case is still ongoing.
The overall impact will not be inordinate for Apple as most of their sales come from the newer models of their products such as the iPhone 5 and the newest generation of iPads. This decision by the commission will have even less of an impact as soon as Apple introduces the next generation of iPhone as past generations will become less relevant to Apple’s bottom line.