The AT&T version of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 3G and cellular versions of the first iPad and iPad 2 are part of the limited import ban

Samsung gained a win in its patent war with Apple today as the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a limited U.S. import ban on certain Apple devices. 

The ban is the result of a complaint Samsung filed back in June 2011, where it asked the ITC to ban the import and sales of Apple devices that infringed on certain standard essential 3G wireless patents owned by Samsung. 

ITC determined today that some 3G-capable iPhone and iPad models infringed on Samsung's U.S. Patent No. 7,706,348 for "Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system."

Hence, ITC has issued a limited U.S. import ban on the AT&T version of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 3G and cellular versions of the first iPad and iPad 2. Apple's newest generations of the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and specific iPhone 4 models are not affected by the ban because they use Qualcomm baseband chips (as part of a third-party licensing agreement with Samsung).

“We believe the ITC’s Final Determination has confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological innovations,” said Samsung. “Our decades of research and development in mobile technologies will continue, and we will continue to offer innovative products to consumers in the United States.”

While this puts an end to the investigation of Samsung's 3G complaint, Apple can still appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 
The import ban is expected to go into effect after a 60-day President review period.

Apple isn't particularly happy, as you'd expect. Especially since Apple was cleared of infringement regarding this 3G case by ITC Administrative Law Judge James Gildea back in September 2012. But one month later, ITC said it would review that decision. 

“We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet. “Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States. Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world. They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.”

Apple and Samsung have been warring over patent infringement lawsuits since April 2011, when Apple claimed Samsung was an "iPhone, iPad copycat" with its Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G, and Nexus smartphones along with the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Sources: CNET, Reuters

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