Is This Another Huge Apple Win Over Samsung?

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A U.S. International Trade Commission panel judge has ruled in a preliminary decision that Samsung infringed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patents while designing and manufacturing its smartphones and tablets.

Judge Thomas Pender ruled on Wednesday that Samsung violated four Apple patents related to the design of the iPhone, technology for touchscreen devices, and that for connecting headphones, but did not infringe two others. A seventh complaint was dropped during litigation, Bloomberg said. Apple first filed the complaint last year and is seeking to block U.S. imports of several Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy SII, and Galaxy Note.

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In February, the full ITC will meet to decide to either uphold or reject Pender’s decision. The commission has the power to halt product imports and sales, but if it does so, the decision will be reviewed by the U.S. president. Samsung will also be given time to work around the patents before the ban is imposed.

“If left to stand, this initial determination could lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices for the American consumer,” Samsung spokesman Adam Yates told Bloomberg. “We remain confident that the full commission will ultimately reach a final determination that affirms our position that patent law must not be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies.”

Details about Pender’s decision will be made public after both sides have had a chance to edit out confidential information.

The two companies are involved in several legal patent battles across the globe, with Apple also arguing with several of its other Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android rivals. In August, the iPhone maker scored a big victory against its Korean competitor when a jury ruled violation and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.

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