ITC bans some Samsung devices for infringing Apple patents [Updated]


The U.S. International Trade Commission has ordered the ban of some Samsung devices after it found that the company infringed on Apple patents.

ITC found Samsung to have infringed on the touchscreen technology related patent titled “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”, which has Steve Jobs listed as one of its inventors, and a patent titled “Audio I/O headset plug and play detection circuitry” that detects when headset is plugged into the device.

Samsung devices will only get banned after the 60-day Presidential review period, during which time the Obama administration can overturn ITC’s decision.

The ITC had earlier issued an order banning the sales of Apple’s iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPad 2, which was overturned by the Obama administration. However, experts don’t expect the ban on Samsung devices to be overturned as the patent infringed by Samsung do not include standard-essential patents.

AllThingsD reports Apple has not surprisingly praised ITC’s decision to ban Samsung products:

“With today’s decision, the ITC has joined courts around the world in Japan, Korea, Germany, Netherlands and California by standing up for innovation and rejecting Samsung’s blatant copying of Apple’s products,” Apple said. “Protecting real innovation is what the patent system should be about.” 

Update 1:

Samsung has issued a statement to Korea Times:

“We are disappointed that the USITC has issued an exclusion order based on two of Apple’s patents. However, Apple has been stopped from trying to use its overbroad design patents to achieve a monopoly on rectangles and rounded corners.”

Update 2:

Strangely, the ruling doesn’t mention, which products could be banned. According to Korea Times the following products could be banned:

Samsung’s products known to violate Apple’s patents include the Galaxy S 4G, the Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, as well as a handful of other smartphones and tablets released in 2010 and 2011.

Do you think it is fair to ban Samsung products for these patents? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: Scales of Justice by mikecogh from Flickr.

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  • Alan

    I don’t think devices should be banned for such software patents. It highlights why the patent system is broken.

    The courts should be able order companies to make a change so that it does not infringe on patents rather than ban devices. It is ridiculous.

    • JD

      What do you think they are doing? If they change the product then it’s no longer banned.

  • elim

    can the korean government veto this?

    • Pacomacman

      They could, but it will hurt Samsung more than it will hurt Apple. You need to remember Apples ban was for standard essential patents. And the way Samsung unfairly applied this to Apple.

      • JimJamUrFace

        The Korean government cannot veto bans in the US. End of story. On another note, no matter what type of patent it is, if terms between two companies are not reached for the usage of that patent, I don’t think Obama, or anyone for that matter has the right to veto it. Even if our patent system is “flawed”, laws are laws and should not be bypassed for any reason.

      • bcsc

        The United States International Trade Commission is an American run agency created by congress. Korea has no say in these matters, and absolutely no way to veto their rulings.

  • Casey

    This is just the beginning! Apple is not even near the top!

  • Kiwiholden

    I think its far. But it would be better if the bans could be enforced when a product is released not years down the truck when they’re such a big deal world wide

  • Bob

    Typo: plug and play , not plug and plug

    • iPhoneHacks

      Thanks fixed!

  • John

    I think “real innovation” has to do more with hardware than software. Software is applied after hardware technology accelerates. The way Apple patents is not fair in my opinion, too many software-related patents, and too many “innovations” that are actually slightly modified, pre-existing developments. Apple overuses the term innovation. “Retina display” already existed before Apple called it revolutionary, as did a rectangular form factor with rounded corners, as did video chatting which already existed on Korean phones, etc etc.

  • JD

    So what devices were banned? You don’t even say in the arrticle. The Tab 7 and S2?

    • iPhoneHacks

      We’ll update the post when we find out. Strangely, the ruling doesn’t mention it.

    • iPhoneHacks

      According to Korea Times, the following Samsung devices could be banned: Galaxy S 4G, the Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Tab 10.1, as well as a handful of other smartphones and tablets released in 2010 and 2011.