Image by CNET

Image by CNET

According to several reports fresh off the wire, the International Trade Commission has just ruled in favour of Apple in the company’s long-running attempt to get the courts to implement a sales ban on certain infringing Samsung devices. The case stems back to a countersuit that Apple filed in 2011 following a lawsuit launched by Samsung that claimed several Apple device’s infringed its patents. Fosspatents reports:

Today the United States International Trade Commission (USITC, or just ITC) handed down its final ruling on Apple’s July 2011 complaint against Samsung. An import ban has been ordered and will take effect at the end of the 60-day Presidential review period.

The ITC found that Samsung does indeed infringe on the two patents asserted in the original case, including one often referred to as the “Steve Jobs” patent that covers touch screen features and another that detects when a headset or other device is plugged into an iPhone. 

The news follows the Obama administration’s decision to veto an ITC import ban on certain iPhone and iPad models that Samsung won in a separate case. While today’s decision will have to undergo a 60-day Presidential review, the ultimate impact of the ban will depend on the workarounds that Samsung implements in the meantime. Fosspatents also notes it would have a much more difficult time obtaining a presidential veto due to the circumstances of the case:

Even though there may be expectations in South Korea that Samsung should benefit from a Presidential veto only because Apple just won one last Saturday, “me too” doesn’t make sense here because standard-essential patents (SEPs) like the one over which the ITC wanted to grant Samsung an exclusion order come with FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing obligations and can’t be worked around without prohibitive switching costs, while non-SEPs are traditional exclusionary rights and, most importantly, can be worked around. In fact, Samsung presented to the ITC products that it said (and Judge Pender agreed) don’t infringe. If legality is so readily available, a veto isn’t warranted.

Today Apple also attempted to convince a separate court to overturn a decision that let Samsung continue to sell products infringing on iPhone-related patents following a high-profile case last year that awarded Apple close to $1B in damages. A decision in that case isn’t expected for a few months and a new trial regarding some of the original damages is set for November.