Apple infringed a Samsung Electronics patent, the U.S. International Trade Commission said in a final judgment released today that bans import into the U.S. of certain AT&T iPhone and iPad models: the iPhone 3G (which is no longer sold), 3G S, and 4, and the cellular versions of the first-gen iPad (also no longer sold) and iPad 2. Apple has said it would appeal the decision in federal court. Later versions of the iPhone (the 4S and 5) and iPad (third- and fourth-gen, and Mini) are unaffected by the ruling.
The patent involves 3G wireless technology used to transmit multiple services simultaneously and is necessary for device interoperability. The ITC found that Samsung did not prove that three other of its patents were violated by Apple. iPhones and iPads on other U.S. carriers are not affected because they use a different 3G radio technology than AT&T, one not in dispute in this case.
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The full panel of ITC commissioners reviewed a decision by ITC Judge James Gildea, who had found that Apple did not infringe four Samsung patents in a decision released in September. Commissioner Dean Pinkert dissented in the 4-1 ruling that found Apple in violation of one patent in the dispute. The ITC began an investigation on Aug. 1, 2011, after Samsung filed a complaint against Apple in what has been a multiple-pronged legal battle involving courts around the world.
The import ban, or "exclusion order" as it is officially called, affects AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. The ITC also went a step further, issuing a cease-and-desist order so that Apple is forbidden from selling any inventory of those iPhones and iPads that it has already imported into the U.S. after the exclusion rder takes effect.
The order now goes to U.S. President Barack Obama for review. That part of the process can go as long as 60 days, and if he does not veto the order it will go into force.
Apple released a statement expressing disappointment in the ruling and saying that it would appeal it. That appeal would be made to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The ruling confirms "Apple's history of free-riding on Samsung's technological innovations," Samsung said in a statement. The company, which is based in South Korea, further pledged to continue its decades of mobile technology research and development, and to offer innovative products in the U.S.