The International Trade Commission pushed back its scheduled January 14 final ruling an Apple and Samsung patent infringement case to February 6. Judge James Gildea issued a preliminary ruling in September where he said Apple hasn't been infringing on the patents Samsung listed, but now it seems there's a possibility the Commission could rule in Samsung's favor.
ITC delays final ruling on Apple, Samsung patent infringement complaint
The reasoning behind the postponement includes references to several submissions from other companies related to FRAND issues.
"If the Commission knew at this stage that Judge Gildea's holdings would be affirmed, there would be no violation and thus no need to give any consideration to 'numerous submissions' on FRAND," Florian Mueller of Foss Patents said. "It's purely conjectural, but the Commission may at this point either have decided to reverse Judge Gildea's decision with respect to at least one SEP, or it may consider this such a close case that two weeks prior to the original ruling date such a reversal is at least possible."
Should the panel change course and rule that Apple has infringed on Samsung's patents, that could ultimately lead to the iPhone and iPad import ban Samsung has been hoping for. If so, Mr. Mueller expects that U.S. lawmakers wouldn't be please and could consider cutting back on the ITC's authority.
The ensuing political process could result in a far-reaching reform of the statute governing the ITC that could generally curtail its jurisdiction over patent infringement cases. The fact that Samsung just felt forced to withdraw its European SEP-based injunction requests and the development of case law in U.S. Federal Courts would turn the ITC into a huge loophole for SEP abusers.
Assuming the ITC Commission does overturn Judge Gildea's preliminary ruling, expect to see an appeal from Apple, and potentially some policy reviews from Congress. For now, however, Judge Gildea's preliminary ruling is in place and Apple can continue to sell the iPhone and iPad in the United States.