Apple-Samsung Case Delayed at ITC

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The International Trade Commission (ITC) will now decide on the Apple (AAPL) Samsung patent infringement case on Jun 4, reported Reuters. The ITC was scheduled to deliver a verdict on May 31 on Samsung’s claims that Apple’s devices (iPod, iPhone and iPad) have infringed upon data transmission patents owned by them. The commission however, did not offer any reason for the delay.

Earlier in Sep 2012, Apple won a preliminary ruling from the ITC that temporarily cleared it of the four patent infringement charges brought by Samsung Electronics related to certain wireless technology. However, in March, the six-member committee asked for additional details regarding the case.

Apple had argued that technology used by it was “standard-essential” and widely used and that Samsung’s claims should not be given precedence. 

The ITC has in its power to block any import in the U.S. and any adverse ruling by ITC could be a blow to Apple’s image. However, Apple has more or less been favored by the ITC in the past few cases.

Separately, Apple had sought a ban on some Samsung products, such as the Nexus range of Smartphones and Galaxy tablets, alleging that Samsung had infringed upon four patents held by them.

In October, Judge Thomas Pender ruled that Samsung had infringed upon three out of the four patents that were brought forward by Apple. However, the case is under review at the ITC and the final ruling is scheduled to be delivered on Aug 1.

Over the last couple of years, Apple has hardened its stance in protecting its intellectual property from misuse and violations. The company has been aggressive in filing lawsuits against handset makers, such as Samsung and HTC, and has accused these manufacturers of blatantly copying its iPhone and iPad designs. So far, these lawsuits have yielded mixed results for Apple.

Moreover, Google (GOOG) has outdone Apple with its Android operating system. Apart from this, stiff competition from Samsung, both in terms of product range and pricing of products, are the headwinds for the company, going forward. Smartphone makers such as Nokia (NOK), Sony and Research In Motion (BBRY) are other contenders for market share.

Currently, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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