Patent circus continues as ITC bans older Samsung devices
The legal problems don’t seem to end for Samsung. On Friday, the International Trade Commission awarded Apple an import ban on a number of Samsung’s older Android phones and tablets—mostly focusing on devices that came out in 2011 or earlier. Devices like the Galaxy S 4G, Captivate, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 were found to infringe upon two of Apple’s patents pertaining to scrolling and how the device reacted when headphones were connected or removed.
There’s still a 60-day presidential veto period where President Obama can choose to rescind the order, but experts think it’s unlikely that he’ll side with Samsung as he did with Apple last weekend. If that’s the case, the ban would go into effect sometime towards the end of October. Still, with most of the phones and tablets named in the lawsuit no longer available in stores, it’s unlikely you’ll notice the effect of the ban unless for some reason you wanted to import one of the offending devices.
As FossPatents points out, however, there’s a chance the ban could be expanded to included some of Samsung’s more recent releases. Florian Mueller (the guy who runs FossPatents) explains that phones like the Galaxy S III could come under scrutiny because they employ “workarounds” to Apple’s patents. It’s still unclear whether those workarounds would hold up in court, and it’s possible the ITC could ask that more recent Galaxy devices be pulled from shelves.
Now before you go panicking on Twitter, yelling that the feds can have your Galaxy S4 when they tear it from your cold, dead hands, know that you probably won’t have government agents coming door to door collecting errant smartphones and tablets. At worst, it means the Galaxy S4 is pulled from store shelves, but not before another series of court cases that take up several month’s time. By the time that’s all settled, we’ll probably have the Galaxy S5—and a whole new set of Apple-Samsung legal tussles.