ITC to investigate Samsung following Apple's patent complaints

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday announced that it will launch an investigation into whether or not multiple Samsung products infringe on Apple patents. “The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain electronic digital media devices and components thereof,” the Commission said in a statement. “The products at issue in this investigation include mobile phone handsets and tablet computers, in addition to components such as software, touchpads, and hardware interfaces.” Apple has filed multiple complaints with the ITC, U.S. courts and international agencies claiming that several Samsung devices are “copycat” products that infringe on Apple patents and copy its designs. Samsung struck back in nearly every case, though the South Korea-based manufacturer did agree not to sell its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia for the time being following a patent complaint filed there by Apple. Apple is also currently at war with several other vendors over patents, including HTC. The ITC’s full news release follows below.

USITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN ELECTRONIC DIGITAL MEDIA DEVICES AND COMPONENTS THEREOF

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain electronic digital media devices and components thereof. The products at issue in this investigation include mobile phone handsets and tablet computers, in addition to components such as software, touchpads, and hardware interfaces.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA, on July 5, 2011. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain electronic digital media devices and components thereof that infringe patents asserted by Apple. The complainant requests that the USITC issue an exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:

    Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., of Korea;
    Samsung Electronics America, Inc., of Ridgefield Park, NJ; and
    Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC, of Richardson, TX.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-796), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The USITC’s Acting Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s five administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. USITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the U.S. Trade Representative within that 60-day period.

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