The International Trade Commission on Tuesday banned several older model iPhones and iPads from the U.S. in a major patent victory for Samsung.
Samsung lost a patent case to Apple last year, but Tuesday’s ruling gives it leverage to settle the case before an appeal is heard, whilst also burnishing its credentials as an industry innovator.
The commission, which is a U.S. government agency, ruled that models of the iPhone 3, 3G and 4S, as well as iPad and iPad2 models sold by wireless carrier AT&T infringed on a Samsung patent for encoding mobile communication.
The South Korean electronics giant is Apple’s chief hardware competitor with its broad portfolio of smartphones, the only ones to outsell Apple’s iPhone.
The products in question are popular with customers who wish to avoid paying the much higher prices commanded by the newest Apple devices.
But they will still be available as the import ban was stayed pending Apple’s appeal. The decision can disputed in a federal court, while U.S. President Barack Obama also has the power to veto the decision within 60 days.
Apple last year won a 1-billion-dollar judgement against Samsung on allegation that the latter had copied the look of the iPhone. The jury decision which Samsung is appealing, was later reduced to 600 million dollars.