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Apple wins second round of Samsung patent slugfest

Will trade commission ban Korean kit from the US? Stay tuned ...

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Apple has won a round of their ongoing battle with Samsung, scoring a complete four-patent victory at the US International Trade Commission.

Samsung had filed the case with the trade arbitrators alleging that Apple, with the production of its iPhone and iPad, had infringed upon four of the Korean smartphone and tablet maker's patents relating to CDMA systems, packet-data reliability, phone-number dialing, and digital-document user interfaces.

Not so, said USITC judge James Gildea in a notice published on the commission's website on Friday, which said that "no violation" had been made by Apple on any of the patents in question.

Gildea's notice did not include the reasoning behind his decision; his opinion will be made public after Apple and Samsung's lawyers have a chance to comb it for confidential information. Before going into effect, the decision will be reviewed by the full commission.

Apple has its own USITC case pending against Samsung, as well. The judge in that case is scheduled to release his ruling on October 19 – and the commission, if it finds that Samsung has violated any of Apple's US patents, could block the Korean megacorp from importing its devices into the US.

Friday's victory comes just 20 days after a nine-member jury came down solidly on Apple's side in a case that Cupertino had filed against Samsung alleging violations of Apple patents. That jury slapped the Korean copycats with a bill for a hefty $1.05bn in damages.

"Apple at the ITC is bulletproof," a trade-case legal specialist told Bloomberg. "Nobody can get any traction against them there. The lesson is, if you want to get relief against Apple, it's going to have to be in a foreign forum where it doesn't have the clout or the cachet it has at the ITC or the northern district of California."

The Reg agrees. Apple is sitting pretty right now, with its fingers on all the right levers in all the right places.

With the overwhelming response to the just-released iPhone 5, Apple's stock price hitting a new high on Friday that tickled the soft underbelly of $700 per share, and the company's market capitalization over $640bn, it must be a cheery time in the corner offices of One Infinite Loop.

No matter what Steve Wozniak thinks. ®

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