Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in the middle of a heavyweight patent-infringement bout against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. that spans the globe. The most newsworthy rounds of that fight, at least in these parts, has been taking place in the U.S., and there have been certainly no shortage of fireworks in the varying battles that go out in federal courthouses and in front of trade commissions.
When looking at the results so far from around the world, there is no definite advantage for either Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Samsung. And in the U.S., there is essentially a draw, as a U.S. federal jury sided with Apple last summer, initially awarding $1 billion in damages (since reduced by the judge to less than $700 million), while Samsung has won the more recent round before the U.S. International Trade Commission. But did the ITC’s ruling go too far, and thus is it really a victory for Samsung?
The ITC ruled late Tuesday that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had violated a couple of Samsung patents in its At&T Inc. (NYSE:T) versions of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 devices and imposed an import ban on each, preventing them from being shipped to and sold in the U.S. (the devices are manufactured in China). While this import ban is mostly symbolic – the iPhone 4 is due to be retired in the next few months as the latest model of iPhone hits U.S. store shelves and the iPad 2 is virtually retired as the iPad 5 is due to come out later this year – there are estimates that the import ban may cost Apple as much as $2 billion. Of course, Apple is expected to appeal the ruling.
However, is the ban going too far? While Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) looks to appeal the ruling – and perhaps keep a watchful eye out for its current and future devices that may have the similar infringement – there seems to be a question whether the ITC overstepped its bounds in this case. How, do you ask?