ITC postpones decision on iPhone, iPad sales ban

The organization is seeking comment on whether Samsung's proposed ban would be in the public interest

The U.S. International Trade Commission will take two more months to decide whether Apple's iPhone and iPad should be taken off sale in the U.S. due to alleged patent infringements, it said late Tuesday.

The ruling relates to a complaint filed with the ITC in August 2011 by Samsung, which alleged the two Apple devices infringed on four of its patents. Samsung asked that the ITC find Apple guilty and halt sales of the allegedly infringing products in the U.S.

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The ITC initially disagreed with Samsung and in a preliminary judgment issued in September last year said Apple hadn't infringed its patents. Then in November, the ITC said it would review the initial judgment and issue a final judgment this week. That final judgment is now due on May 31.

The organization is requesting feedback from the parties and public on whether Samsung's proposed import ban would be in the public interest.

"The Commission is particularly interested in the effect on the public interest with respect to (a) the percentage of the total number of imported mobile telephone handsets that would be affected by such orders, (b) the percentage of the total number of imported cellular-network-enabled tablets that would be affected by such orders, and (c) the qualitative impact of exclusion of such handsets and tablets," it said in a statement.

It is also asking what later-generation products are available that are authorized by Samsung to include the patents in question.

Submissions, which can be made online, should be sent to the ITC by April 3.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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