Apple banned from selling some iPhones and iPads after Samsung patent win

Apple banned from selling some iPhones and iPads after Samsung patent win
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POSTED: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 10:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 10:04pm

Apple won the biggest battle in its endless patent war with Samsung, but now it's Samsung's turn to be victor. A trade agency ruled Tuesday that several older Apple products violate a Samsung patent, and those devices can't be imported to or sold within the United States.

The International Trade Commission's long-awaited ruling bans Apple from importing or selling the AT&T-compatible models of the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3, as well as the AT&T 3G-connected versions of the iPad and iPad 2. Those products infringe on a Samsung patent for encoding mobile communications, the ITC ruled.

The ban does not affect the newest generation of Apple's products, the iPhone 5 and the fourth-generation iPad, which use different technology than the earlier devices. Apple and Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for AT&T declined to comment.

The commission did not find that Apple violated any of the three other patents Samsung named in its case. But the rest of the ruling is a big blow to Apple -- and it comes as a surprise, given that a previous preliminary ruling from an ITC judge exonerated Apple completely.

This time, the "determination is final, and the investigation is terminated," the ITC wrote in its decision. Apple can file an appeal with the Federal Circuit, however. The company can also hope for a veto from President Obama.

The ITC is required by law to send such "exclusion orders" to the president for a 60-day review. Unless President Obama actively strikes down the order, it becomes final.

Last year, a California jury found that several Samsung products infringed on Apple patents for software features like double-tap zooming and scrolling. The jury initially recommended that Apple be awarded more than $1 billion in damages. A final ruling in that separate case isn't expected until later this year. 

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