In September, ITC Judge James Gildea found that Apple did not violate two Samsung-owned standard essential patents when it built the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad. There were actually four patents at issue in the case, and Apple was found not to have violated any of them.
The two standard essential patents back in the dock are related to 3G technology and specifically the format of data packets for high-speed transmission.
“If Apple is found to infringe, its devices can be banned for sale in the United States,” claims Reuters.
The ITC has asked for clarification on how it should consider these standard essential patents (SEPs), which would normally be expected to be licensed widely and on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). Standards Essential Patents have to be made available to companies so they can ensure their devices are interoperable.
In fact, it is an issue for antitrust enforcers if a company that owns a standard essential patents asks for infringing devices to be barred, adds Reuters.
This isn’t the first time an ITC judge has ruled in favour of Apple, earlier this year an ITC judge found that Samsung had infringed on four Apple patents.
The California Apple versus Samsung trial
Apple also won a victory in August when a jury in California awarded it US$1.05 billion in damages having agreed that Samsung had copied the design of its products.
That case is far form over, however. For example, Samsung has asked for a new trial of the case, alleging that the foreman of the jury did not disclose certain relevant information. Samsung’s motion will also be heard in December.
Both parties have been applying to add more handsets to their patent-infringement case. Samsung is adding the iPhone 5, while Apple is adding the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note, and Galaxy Nexus, notes Wired.
Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal denied Apple’s request to include Android Jelly Bean since it is a product from Google, rather than Samsung, adds Wired.
Judge Grewal wrote: “Samsung also does not have any design control over the content of Jelly Bean as it is a Google Android product that Samsung itself did not develop. The court will not permit a sweeping amendment that might apply to devices other than those properly tied to Samsung.”
Judge Lucy Koh (who oversaw the US Apple v Samsung trial) will hear the new trial in March 2014.
HTC and Apple said earlier this month that they had settled all their outstanding patent disputes in a settlement that includes a 10-year agreement under which the companies will license current and future patents from each other. The terms of the settlement were kept confidential and not disclosed. However, Samsung has asked for a copy of the Apple HTC agreement which may include patents that Apple had been unwilling to license to Samsung. If it does that may help Samsung defend its products from the infringement lawsuit. Samsung asked for a copy of the agreement to be made available by 27 November. Samsung mobile business chief Shin Jong-kyun has confirmed that Samsung will not be holding talks with Apple with a view to settling out of court.
The continuing Apple v Samsung case looks likely to steal a few headlines over the next few months. Judge Koh will hear the motions in the Apple v Samsung case from earlier this year in December. Then ITC is then due to issue a final decision in February.