International Trade Commission Will Review Apple-Samsung Patent Case


I’m not saying this as a fan of Apple, I’m saying this as a fan of innovation—this is just getting nuts. Apple won a suit brought on by Samsung that Apple infringed on its patents. Fine. Now the U.S. ITC is reviewing the ruling instead of accepting it.

Perhaps the ITC wants to examine the issue of “essential patents” in terms of licensing and competition, but still I think it’s about time companies got back to the business of innovating instead of suing the snot out of each other.

An administrative law judge at the ITC had said in a preliminary ruling in September that Apple was innocent of violating the patents. The ITC, which could have opted to simply uphold the judge’s decision, said that it would take up the matter. A final decision is expected in January.

If Apple is found to infringe, its devices can be banned for sale in the United States.

Apple and Samsung have taken their bruising patent disputes to some 10 countries as they vie for market share in the booming mobile industry.


In its announcement that it would review the case, the ITC asked for briefings on how it should consider standard essential patents, which are normally expected to be licensed widely and on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The use of standards helps companies ensure devices are interoperable.

Some antitrust enforcers have argued that it is wrong for companies which own standard essential patents to ask for infringing devices to be barred from the country except in extreme instances.
From: Yahoo! News

No, I’m not saying companies shouldn’t defend their IP or patents. The problem is that it’s all gotten out of hand and I think it’s making everyone lazy or just too distracted to really focus on innovation.

Let’s hope what comes out of this review is a real precedent for how essential patents (like wireless communications) are licensed and we can all just move on.

Image from Reuters.