Apple faces US import ban on older iPhones

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 Jun 2013

Samsung has had little success so far in the patent battles it has initiated against Apple. But the company has just scored a win, including a ban on Apple importing some older iPhones and iPads into the US.

The nation's International Trade Commission yesterday issued an order upholding some of Samsung's patent violation claims, and dismissing some others.

The import ban only applies to AT&T models of the iPhone 4, the iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G, as well as the older iPhone 3 and iPhone 3GS models that are no longer being sold in the market.

Apple is also free to appeal the decision – and an Apple spokesperson toldAllThingsD that the company plans to do so – or president Obama has a 60-day window to decide whether to overturn the import ban.

But the verdict is a victory for Samsung nonetheless. Apple has long maintained that the disputed patent in question – which relates to encoding/decoding a transport format combination indicator in a CDMA system – falls under the banner of a standards-essential patent.

This would require Samsung to license the patent on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

But after taking submissions on the FRAND issue from industry giants including Ericsson, Cisco, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, and BlackBerry, the ITC said it had “determined that Apple failed to prove an affirmative defense [for infringement] based on Samsung’s FRAND declarations.”

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