Samsung says ITU ruling in favor of Apple would mean less choice, higher prices

The preliminary ruling, if upheld, could see several Samsung products barred from import

A finding by the U.S. International Trade Commission that Samsung infringed Apple's patents would lead to less choice and higher prices for consumers, Samsung said Wednesday after an ITU judge issued a preliminary decision against the company.

Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender issued a preliminary finding that Samsung infringed four of Apple's patents, one related to product design and three related to technology.

The infringing devices include models of Samsung's Transform, Acclaim, Indulge and Intercept smartphones, according to the judge. If the preliminary finding is upheld by the full commission, the devices could face an import ban in the U.S.

"If left to stand, this initial determination could lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices for the American consumer," Samsung said in a statement. The company said it was confident the full commission will find in its favor.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

Apple filed the complaint against Samsung last July, after Samsung had filed a similar complaint against Apple. Last month, in another preliminary decision, an ITC judge determined that Apple did not violate Samsung's patents.

It's part of a wider legal battle that's being played out in various courts worldwide. In each case, Apple says Samsung copied the design of its iPhone and iPad products, while Samsung says it merely mimicked them in a way that many electronics companies emulate successful products.

This summer, in a separate case, a California jury decided Samsung should pay Apple US$1.05 billion for infringing its patents. Samsung is appealing that decision.

The Apple patents at issue in this latest ITC decision are a design patent, number D618,678, and three technology patents, numbers 7,479,949, RE41,922 and 7,912,501.

The judge determined that Samsung did not infringe two other Apple patents, numbers D558,757 and 7,789,697.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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