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ITC finds Samsung feature violates Apple patent

Samsung was issued a setback last week in its patent battle with Apple, when the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that the Korean phone manufacturer infringes on an Apple patent by using a text-selection feature in its devices.

As reported by Reuters, ITC Judge Thomas Pender found that the text-selection option infringed on an Apple patent, but a feature that detected if something was plugged into a device's microphone jack did not.

As noted by patent blogger Florian Mueller, the infringing technology can be seen "through the text selection feature of the Android Browser application and the translucent buttons of the Android photo gallery."

The full commission must review Pender's decision. If it's upheld, the ITC could possibly ban the importation of infringing devices into the US. Most mobile phone companies that have faced a ban at the ITC, though, have altered their devices rather than have their gadgets pulled from store shelves.

A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment.

Back in October, Judge Pender found Samsung guilty of infringing on four Apple patentscovering an "ornamental design of an electronic device," as well as three utility patents for touch screens, translucent images on a computer display, and an audio I/O headset plug and plug detection circuitry.

The full commission reviewed that decision, but sent it back to Pender for an additional review of two of those patents, Reuters said. Pender issued his response on 26 March 26, and the decision was unsealed last week.

Across the country in California district court, Samsung is still battling Apple in two separate cases. Recently, a judge dropped $450 million (£294 million) from a $1.05 billion (£690 million) August judgment and ordered a new trial on 14 Samsung products. Apple, however, is requesting that the judge reinstate $85 million (£55 million) of that $450 million total. Last week, the patent office rejected Apple's "bounce back" patent, which could affect how much money it gets from Samsung in the California case.