Samsung will have another chance to convince a U.S. trade agency that Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad infringe its patents.
The U.S. International Trade Commission said yesterday it will review “in its entirety” a trade judge’s Sept. 14 findings that cleared Apple of claims the company violated four Samsung patents. The commission, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents, is scheduled to make a final decision on Jan. 14.
The case is part of a global dispute between the two biggest makers of mobile devices as they fight for increased share of a $219 billion smartphone market. Samsung needs a victory to help drag out litigation while it designs around the Apple patents, said Erin-Michael Gill, managing director of MDB Capital Group LLC, a Santa Monica, California-based investment bank that specializes in patent issues.
“An exclusion order would be lose-lose for them” Gill said. “Samsung suppliers are being pushed to ensure their innovations are beyond what Apple has patented.”
Samsung is a major supplier of iPhone components, so it wouldn’t benefit from an import ban, he said. At the same time, Gill said, Samsung wants to avoid having to pay high royalties, such as those HTC Corp. has reportedly agreed to pay under a 10- year licensing agreement with Apple.
“We remain confident that the commission will reach a final determination that affirms our position that Apple must be held accountable for free-riding on our technological innovations,” said Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung.