English: A ridiculous line of people waiting for the iPhone 3G outside of the Apple Store on 5th Ave. between 58th St. and 59th St., NYC, July 12, 2008. I was not in the line. pictured: the Apple Store entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Apple Suffers Blow In Patent Fight
In an ongoing patent battle, Samsung has recently scored a big victory with the International Trade Commission finding that the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 violated the Samsung patent on certain wireless transmission technology. As a result, the ITC has ruled that these models and some older Apple devices should be banned from import to the United States.
Apple does have 60 days to appeal, but only the White House or the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit can overturn this decision. The negative ramifications for Apple go beyond financial. Some experts have speculated that the Jobs' legacy stands to be permanently tarnished if this finding stands.
Up to this point, both sides of the patent battle had scored wins and suffered losses, but the ITC ruling puts the onus squarely on Apple and leaves the company with limited options to proceed. Some of the Apple devices are still money-makers for the company, but the biggest blow comes to the company's reputation and ongoing operations. Obviously the technology in question can no longer be used by Apple if the ruling stands, but that problem is secondary to the company's public image.
Fortunately for Apple, rumored new technology slated for release this fall may make the iPhone 4 a non-issue. Also, the White House leans toward imposing fines instead of banning imports in these situations, so that attitude may help companies in Apple's situation down the line.
Samsung has at least a temporary victory in the patent fight with Apple. The final chapter has not been written yet, but the next few months should clarify the picture and put other companies on notice about patent infringement.
Apple-Samsung Patent Wars