Did Apple Celebrate This Win Too Early?

Samsung has been handed a lifeline in its U.S. International Trade Commission case against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after the agency decided to review its own earlier decision in the matter. The ITC said it will review “in its entirety” the September 14 judgment delivered by one of its judges that cleared Apple of charges that its products violate four Samsung patents. The commission, which has the power to block U.S. imports of infringing products, is scheduled to make a final decision on January 14.

Samsung had alleged that Apple infringed on four patents, including two related to how phones transmit data. Trade Judge James Gildea found that Apple didn’t infringe any of the patents and also ruled that one, for a way to detect movement on a touch-screen, was invalid. Gildea did recommend that the ITC issue an import ban if it eventually found Samsung’s claims to be true. The case names the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the iPad 2, the iPad, and the iPod Touch.

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“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,” Samsung spokesman Adam Yates told Bloomberg.

The two global smartphone market leaders are involved in several legal battles against each other in what has become a very contentious and wide-ranging dispute. Apple has filed its own case against Samsung with the ITC, where Judge Thomas Pender found in October that the Korean company violated four patents. The commission is set to announce the next steps in that case on January 9. Apple also famously won a $1 billion jury verdict against its Korean rival in August in San Jose, California, though that case is set for review next month after Samsung claimed jury misconduct.

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