ITC Judge Warns Samsung Big Injunction is Coming

ITC Judge Thomas Pender has warned Samsung that he is calling for a complete sales ban on the company's products that infringe on four of Apple's design patents. He also told the electronics maker it will have to post a bond worth 88 percent of the value of the products it could sell during a required Presidential review period before the injunction goes into effect.

Samsung faces U.S. injunction from ITCSamsung faces U.S. injunction from ITC

Judge Pender's decision is part of the October ITC ruling that Samsung was using Apple's mobile device designs in its own smartphones and tablets and includes the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S III, along with several older Android-based products.

Florian Mueller of Foss Patents stated, "If the U.S. trade agency affirms the Judge's findings of violations (which the ITC staff supports across the board) and adopts his recommended remedies, Samsung faces the following draconian combination of sanctions:" which include the sales ban following the 60 day Presidential review period, a cease and desist order blocking the sale of infringing products in the United States, and a bond with 88 percent of the mobile phones it could sell during the period, along with 32.5 percent of media players and 37.6 percent of tablet devices.

While the ITC injunction will likely win approval, Judge Pender did throw Samsung a bone, too. He also approved several design workarounds Samsung can use in new or redesigned products to avoid infringement, and if implemented quickly, could potentially avoid the injunction completely.

The whole process, even if Samsung implements the workarounds, could still hold several headaches for the company.

"For example, during the short Presidential review period, it might have to post a bond even on products that already have been designed around the patents-in-suit. Also, customs officers may hold up shipments of designaround products until they are certain that an exclusion order doesn't apply to them," Mr. Mueller said. "And Samsung is worried that this could also affect other electronic media devices, including televisions, laptops, non-smartphone mobile phons, cameras and camcorders, or standalone components, even though Apple did not accuse any of those kinds of products of infringement."

Apple also agreed to drop the Galaxy S III Mini from its infringement lawsuits if Samsung didn't start selling the device in the U.S. -- a deal the electronics maker agreed to. The S III Mini is still available in the U.S., but presumably will disappear from store shelves soon.