Apple Loses Patent Battle to Samsung, Possible Ban of iPhone Imports

Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone battle with swords

Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone battle with swordsvia

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Apple experienced their first loss against Samsung in a patent case, a decision that may result in a ban on imports of some older mobile devices, including the iPhone 4.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced yesterday that Apple infringed on one of Samsung’s patents and that a ban will be placed on all Apple devices that make use of the patent. Unfortunately for Apple, the products in question are manufactured in Asia and would therefore fall under the import ban.

The patent relates to 3G wireless technology that was used in the iPhone 3, 3GS, and 4 as well as the cellularly connected first-, second-, and third-generation iPads. If the ban goes through, AT&T and T-Mobile customers looking to purchase a cheap new iPhone will be out of luck.

The ruling could be reversed by a presidential order within 60 days on public policy grounds. Though Obama is unlikely to overturn the ruling, Apple is free to continue selling the models in question through the end of the review period.

Forbes claims that the ban on Apple imports could cost the Cupertino-based company $1 billion in revenue. In this case, however, Apple may replace the iPhone 4 with a low-priced model to avoid revenue loss.

While bad news for Apple, the ruling is a silver lining for Samsung. According to Bloomberg News, the ITC ruling may ease Samsung’s “copycat” reputation. “It seems inevitable that the latest ruling will have a negative impact on Apple. Combined with rising branding power in the U.S., the ITC ruling may give Samsung a chance to narrow its market-share gap with Apple in the U.S,” Bloomberg quoted Park Hyun, a Seoul-based analyst with TongYang Securities Inc.

What do you think? Will the recent ITC ruling drastically hurt Apple’s profits while building Samsung a better rep?

Lauren Mobertz

By Lauren Mobertz

Lauren is the former managing editor for DashBurst. One part geek, one part urban nomad, she is constantly scouting for the latest tech and world news. In the evenings you'll find Lauren running in strange places or attempting to dance salsa.


  1. @Lauren Great blog, reminds me of my blog I did about samsung and apple a few months ago titled “Samsung Taking a bite out of Apple” I believe that samsung is very good quality with all of their products and here in australia you either have a samsung or an apple. I think what’s important here is that what ever has happened, should be rectified as this is obviously something every one will be talking about. Apple Shame on them!

  2. Sad that people have to fight over technology, who knows where or when the first step was taken – especially when it all happens in clouded secrecy! Technology should remain the ownership of the people who support the brands. Brand names really don’t have to waste court time sorting out fiddly bits.

  3. Good for Samsung! Apple’s first patent infringement case was just so ridiculous, I am glad to see someone (especially Samsung ) stick it to ’em!

Leave a comment