Samsung asks U.S. trade body to reverse finding

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Samsung asks U.S. trade body to reverse finding

Samsung Electronics, told by a federal jury to pay Apple more than $1 billion for copying the iPhone and iPad, wants another U.S. body to give it leverage to fight back.

The Korean company has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington to reverse a finding by one of its judges that Apple’s devices don’t infringe on four Samsung patents. The agency, which can block imports of products found to infringe patents, is scheduled to announce today whether it will review that Sept. 14 decision.

Samsung needs a victory to counteract a series of Apple wins in U.S. courts, as the world’s two largest smartphone makers fight for increased shares of a $219 billion market.

“For Samsung, it’s most important to not lose,” said Alex Spektor, an analyst with Strategy Analytics in Boston, Massachusetts. “I don’t think they need to cripple their competitors as much as they need to make sure every product they sell into the U.S. continues selling because those products have proven very popular.”

The ITC’s power to block products from the U.S. market gives the commission’s ruling more potential economic impact than even the $1 billion jury award Apple won in San Jose, California, in August.

“Getting a judgment at the ITC means a lot,” said Victor Siber, who was former chief intellectual property counsel for International Business Machines, and is now at Baker Hostetler in New York. “We’re not talking about small numbers. It impacts the whole economy, so they should get it as right as they can.”

Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone maker while Apple dominates in the U.S. In the third quarter, Samsung had 28 percent of the U.S. market to Apple’s 34 percent, Spektor said.

Apple’s newest iPhone could contribute as much as one-half a percentage point to U.S. economic growth this quarter, according to an analysis by JPMorgan Chase & Company released before the smartphone’s debut in September.

Apple has claimed phones running on Google’s Android operating system, including Samsung’s, copy the look and unique features that have contributed to the iPhone’s popularity since it was first sold in 2007.

Apple settled with Android-handset maker HTC this month, striking a 10-year licensing agreement. Apple said Nov. 15 it is negotiating an agreement with Google’s Motorola Mobility unit for binding arbitration of their disputes over how to license patents relating to technical standards all device makers must follow.

Apple’s legal success against Samsung in the U.S. hasn’t been replicated in other nations. In the U.K., Apple was ordered to post a public apology on its Web site for accusing Samsung of copying a tablet computer design. Samsung also has won non-infringement rulings in The Hague and Tokyo courts.

Samsung has about 140,000 patents worldwide on things like light-emitting diodes, computer-memory chips and televisions. It’s been in the mobile-phone market since the 1980s, and is counting on that history to get an upper hand in its global fight with Apple.


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