Imports banned: AT&T's iPhone 4. Photo: Reuters
Apple faces a ban on US imports of some iPhone and iPad models after a trade agency said they infringe a patent owned by Samsung.
It's the first patent ruling against Apple in the US that affects product sales, covering models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G made for telco AT&T.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced its decision in a notice posted on its website.
It's on: Apple v Samsung. Photo: Bloomberg
The import ban is subject to review by US President Barack Obama, who has 60 days to review them. If he does not veto the order, it goes into effect.
The patent litigation, which spans four continents, is just one front of a battle for greater share of the $US293.9 billion market for smartphones. Together, the companies make more than half of the smartphones sold worldwide, with Samsung holding the title of biggest smartphone maker and Apple dominating in the US.
Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, contended Apple infringes four patents, including two that relate to how phones transmit data. US trade Judge James Gildea sided with Apple in September, saying Apple didn't infringe any of the patents and that one, for a way to detect movement on a touchscreen, was invalid. The fourth patent in the case is for a way to detect phone numbers in emails so they can be dialled or stored in the phone's contact list.
The infringement was found on one of the two patents for data transmission, which relate to standard technology used across the industry. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, argued that since Samsung helped establish the industry standard and agreed to license the patents on fair terms it shouldn't be allowed to use those patents to thwart competition.
An issue in the case was whether Samsung complied with its pledge to license its standard-essential patents on fair terms.
Apple contends that Samsung never made a fair offer and demanded that Apple pay 2.4 per cent of the average sales price of every iPhone and mobile data-enabled iPad, according to filings with the agency. The iPhone generated $US78.7 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended September 29, or about 50 per cent of Apple's revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its iPad brought in $US30.9 billion and the iPod generated $US5.6 billion.
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