A judge for the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Friday issued a preliminary ruling [text; PDF] against Samsung in their complaint that mobile phones and tablet computers imported by Apple [corporate websites] infringed on four Samsung patents. The patents in this case covered narrow data processing and user input methods. Samsung asked that the ITC block the import of the devices they claim infringe on their patents. In addition to finding no infringement, the ruling also found no domestic industry that utilized the patents in question. The matter can now go before the full commission for final review. The ITC has become an important venue in patent infringement actions with Morotrola Mobility, Apple and Kodak [JURIST reports] involved in recent cases.
Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in continuous patent litigation in courts around the world. In August Apple won a $1.05 billion judgment [JURIST report] against Samsung in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website]. The suit covered everything from the shape and design of the competing companies' tablets and smartphones to the technology employed in the devices' software interface. Following the jury award Apple moved to block [JURIST report] eight Samsung products from being produced and sold in the US. Last month a South Korean court found that Apple and Samsung had violated each others' patents [JURIST report] and banned the sales of some of the companies' products in the country. In July a UK court ruled [JURIST report] that Samsung tablets do not infringe on Apple's design. Earlier in July a federal judge issued an injunction [JURIST report] against Samsung to stop the sale of its Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US. A week earlier the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had rejected [Bloomberg report; CAFC notice] Samsung's appeal of the decision that remanded the case to the district court giving Apple another opportunity to ban Samsung's Galaxy products in the states after it partially reversed [JURIST report] the district court's refusal to grant a temporary injunction for Apple against Samsung. Apple's request for a temporary injunction was denied [JURIST report] by the district court in December.