The patent in question concerns the selection of text on the browser of a handheld device by covering it with a translucent layer, where the layer becomes active for user inputs. Most smartphone users will be familiar with the method or something similar from when they press down on a word to copy or perhaps delete it.
In his initial decision, which was reached last week but only published last week, Judge Thomas Pender found several Samsung phones did infringe two parts of US patent RE41,922, filed by Apple in 2002.
Judge Pender, however, determined the phones do not infringe an Apple patent covering detection circuitry for a jack socket that determines whether a microphone or headphones are connected.
The determination is part of an ongoing lawsuit between Apple and Samsung that Apple filed with the ITC in July 2011.
The ITC has the capability to issue import bans on products, so it is a popular destination for companies locked in patent disputes.
A final decision in the case is expected later this year.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn’s e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org