The US International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] on Tuesday issued a limited import ban [text] and a cease-and-desist order against Apple for AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G after finding the devices violate a patent held by Samsung Electronics [corporate websites]. The ruling states that Apple violated one of Samsung's patents on two different claims dealing with encoding and decoding a wireless protocol. The ban ends Apple's ability to sell these devices [AP report] in the US since the devices are assembled in China. President Barack Obama can invalidate the order within 60 days. Apple has stated that it will appeal the ruling.
This patent ruling is most recent event in a protracted patent litigation battle [JURIST op-ed] between Apple and Samsung that spans over four continents. In March Apple requested that the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] grant a new trial on damages [JURIST report] in its patent infringement dispute against Samsung. In December Judge Lucy Koh requested a temporary "ceasefire" [JURIST report] in litigation while she determined whether to reduce Samsung's damages to Apple. In October a judge for the ITC issued a preliminary ruling [JURIST report] that Samsung infringed four of Apple's patents relating to smartphone design and touchscreen technology. Also that month, the Dutch Rechtbank's-Gravenhage [official website, in Dutch] court ruled that Samsung did not infringe on an Apple software patent; a UK court also ruled that Samsung did not infringe on an Apple design patent; and Apple defeated [JURIST reports] patent infringement claims made by Samsung in Japan, overcoming Samsung's attempt to enjoin iPhone sales in the country.