The U.S. International Trade Commission has just ruled that Apple infringes on Samsung’s patent Patent No. 7,706,348, titled “Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system.”
This comes as a big blow to Apple as ITC has also issued a cease and desist order, which prohibits Apple from the sale and distributing products such as AT&T models of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, the iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. While the iPhone 3GS and iPad 3G are discontinued, Apple has been selling iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G.
Under the modified constructions, the Commission has determined that Samsung has proven that the accused iPhone 4 (AT&T models); iPhone 3GS (AT&T models); iPhone 3 (AT&T models); iPad 3G (AT&T models); and iPad 2 3G (AT&T models) infringe the asserted claims of the ’348 patent. The win is the first in the United States for Samsung, after losing a major jury trial in 2012.
It is important to note that it won’t affect the sales of iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad 4 and iPad mini.
Apple had tried to use the “FRAND” defense, claiming that the patent was essential to the 3G standard and needed “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” terms for licensing it, but ITC did not agree. It stated that Samsung’s FRAND declarations “do not preclude issuance of the limited exclusion order and cease and desist order.” Samsung has been demanding a license fee of 2.4% for each device sold by Apple, which the experts have felt was too high.
Apple has issued the following statement to AllThingsD:
We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal. 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.
Apple plans to appeal the ruling. The ban can only be overturned by the White House or the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.