Samsung v. Apple


  • Case Number: Inv. No. 337-TA-794

“Certain Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computers”

Next Event: Awaiting notice of the Commission’s decision whether or not to review the Initial Determination.  The target date for completion is January 14, 2013.

Summary:  Samsung asserts that Apple violated Section 337 by important and selling products that infringe on five Samsung patents that concern multiple functions of smartphones. Administrative Law Judge E. James Gildea issued an Initial Determination finding no infringement.  Samsung requested a review by the full Commission.  Currently the parties are awaiting a decision from the Commission on whether to review the Initial Determination.

Timeline of Important Events:

  • June 28, 2011 – Samsung files its initial complaint. (Document #453410).
  • July 27, 2011 – The International Trade Commission opens an investigation and assigns Administrative Law Judge E. James Gildea.
  • August 17, 2011 – Apple responds to Samsung’s complaint, denying allegations of patent infringement. (Document #457765).
  • March 5, 2012 – Samsung moves for summary determination for three elements:
    • (1) Apple maintains commercially significant inventories of the accused products in the United States, which was denied on June 6 (public version Document #487956);
    • (2) Samsung satisfied the importation requirement, which was denied on June 1 (public version Document #487592);
    • (3) Samsung satisfied the economic prong of the domestic industry requirement, which was denied on June 6, 2012 (public version Document #483756).
  • March 5, 2012 – Apple moves for summary determination of non-infringement and failure to satisfy the domestic industry requirement as to patent 7,486,644.  The court denied Apple’s motion on June 4.
  • June 1, 2012 – Samsung moves to partially terminate the investigation as to patent 6,879,843 and one claim of patent 7,706,348.
  • June 5, 2012 – Hearing begins.
  • September 14, 2012 – ALJ Gildea issues notice of an Initial Determination that finds no infringement by Apple of Samsung’s patents, and additionally finds that no domestic industry exists that practices those patents. (Document #491044).  Full public Initial Determination released October 3, 2012. (Document #492363).
  • October 22, 2012 – Apple files Submission Pursuant to the Commission’s Request for Statements on the Public Interest (Document 495145).  Apple argues that the public interest requires the Commission to deny issuing an exclusion order for three reasons
    • 1) Samsung’s FRAND commitments prevents them from seeking exclusionary remedies at the International Trade Commission;
    • 2) the patents are unenforceable because Samsung failed to timely disclose them to ETSI; and
    • 3) Samsung’s claims are barred by patent exhaustion arising from Samsung’s agreements with Intel and Qualcomm.
  • October 22, 2012 – Samsung files Submission Pursuant to the Commission’s Request for Statements on the Public Interest (Document 495139).  Samsung argues that the classification of a patent as standard essential does not mean it should be exempt from certain protections afforded to all other patentees, including exclusion orders by the International Trade Commission.
  • October 26, 2012 – Office of Unfair Import Investigations submits a summary of its response to the petitions made by Samsung and Apple (Document #495547).  OUII submits that none of Apple’s FRAND arguments “have merit.”
  • November 19, 2012 – Commission announces it will review the Final Initial Determination in full (Document #497444).  The Commission asks both parties to submit briefs on a discrete number of issues, as well as broader briefs on the proposed remedy.  The Commission also invites public comments on four specific questions:
    • Does the mere existence of a FRAND undertaking with respect to a particular patent preclude issuance of an exclusion order based on infringement of that patent? Please discuss theories in law, equity, and the public interest, and identify which (if any) of the 337(d)(l) public interest factors preclude issuance of such an order.
    • Where a patent owner has offered to license a patent to an accused infringer, what framework should be used for determining whether the offer complies with a FRAND undertaking‘? How would a rejection of the offer by an accused infringer influence the analysis, if at all?
    • Would there be substantial cost or delay to design around the technology covered by the ’348 and ’644 patents asserted in this investigation? Could such a design-around still comply with the relevant ETSI standard?
    • What portion of the accused devices is allegedly covered by the asserted claims of each of the ‘348 and ’644 patents? Do the patents cover relatively minor features of the accused devices?
  • December 4, 2012 – Briefs for Apple, Samsung, and various third parties concerning the existence of FRAND, the viability of an injunction or exclusion order, and the correct framework for determining what constitutes an acceptable FRAND offer by an SEP holder are posted.  Third parties include:  RIM, Ericson, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Sprint, Qualcomm, Association for Competitive Technology, Business Software Alliance, and Innovation Alliance.