ITC to take closer look at Samsung case against Apple, FRAND patents are at issue

The International Trade Commission has opted to review a decision from September that held that Apple had not violated any of Samsung’s patents with its iOS devices. The commission could have upheld the initial ruling, but they have decided that the case needs further investigation. Apple devices could be banned from import into the US if they are found to infringe on Samsung’s patents. Samsung’s case is based on multiple standard-essential patents, including one that deals with 3G wireless technology. The commission has asked for guidance on how standards-essential, or FRAND, patents should be treated, as Diane Bartz of Reuters reports:

In its announcement that it would review the case, the ITC asked for briefings on how it should consider standard essential patents, which are normally expected to be licensed widely and on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The use of standards helps companies ensure devices are interoperable.

This case comes after another ruling of an ITC judge found that Samsung violated four of Apple’s patents. That decision is also under review. If the final judgement in February upholds the original ruling, then Samsung faces a possible import ban on the offending products. Apple faces a similar ban if found to have infringed on Samsung’s patents. The ITC will decide if Samsung is using its FRAND patents in an appropriate manner in seeking an import ban on Apple products. The commission will give its ruling on the case in January 2013.

Source: Reuters