Apple patent case victory to banish Samsung smartphones from US

Apple has won a patent-infringement case against Samsung in a decision that limits the US import of certain products.

According to Bloomberg, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) in Washington handed out an almost-final verdict in Cupertino's favour; the ban is still subject to review by President Barack Obama, who can overturn it on public policy grounds.

The news comes almost a year after Cupertino won more than $1 billion (£645 million) in a major patent battle against Samsung.

A federal jury last year found two dozen Samsung devices infringed on patents already held by Apple, but aside from a hefty fine for Samsung, no other repercussions were doled out. In fact, Judge Lucy Koh in December concluded that damages were enough for Apple, and a full ban of the products in question was not necessary.

But apparently $1.05 billion wasn't quite enough for the tech giant, and the company found itself back in court, at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, for an injunction against Samsung.

The appeals court is not expected to rule on the case for several months, despite the USITC announcement.

"Apple spent five years and $5 billion to develop a product and it was a revolutionary product," Apple lawyer William Lee told Bloomberg. "Samsung said, 'We can copy it easily.' They spent three months to bring the product to market."

But the South Korean company doesn't feel that it should take all the blame. A company lawyer told the court that Apple needed to show "the difference between Samsung's infringement and Samsung's legitimate competition," Bloomberg reported.

The original ruling was based on a number of Apple design and utility patents with a variety of devices, including the Samsung Epic 4G, Capitivate, Galaxy S2, Indulge, Vibrant, and more.

This spring, a court ruling dropped more than $450 million (£290 million) in damages from the original $1.05 billion Apple won in August 2012; the 1 March decision was based on the court's belief that some sales of the devices in question occurred before 15 April 2011 — the date Apple sued Samsung.

Cupertino quickly requested that the judge reinstate more than $85 million (£56 million) in damages.

What seems like a never-ending dispute between the two phone makers continued in May, when Apple revealed that it wanted to add the Galaxy S4 to the list of 22 infringing Samsung devices. Cupertino offered to drop one of the gadgets already on the list and swap in Samsung's newest flagship Android smartphone.

As the case continues, both sides have continued to update their lawsuits each time they release a new product. Last year, Apple added the Galaxy S3, while Samsung then took aim at the iPhone 5.

Last week, President Barack Obama overturned a similar ruling that would have banned some Apple products from the US market, citing "the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effects on U.S. consumers" for the decision.

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