California - An U.S. International Trade Commission administrative law judge made an initial finding on Wednesday that Samsung Electronics Co. infringed four Apple inc. patents for smartphone and tablet technology.
Though the ALJ did not find in favor of Apple on all of the patents it asserted, such as a component of the iPhone's design, he did find Samsung infringed patents relating to headphone connectors and touch screen technology.
The ITC's finding could pave the way for exclusion and cease and desist orders blocking imports of some Samsung devices into the U.S.
The ruling is the latest blow for Samsung, which recently became the target of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into potential antitrust violations connected to its licensing of standard-essential patents, according to a filing Apple made in another case before the ITC on Monday.
Earlier this year a California federal jury handed down a $1 billion verdict against Samsung on Apple's smartphone and tablet patent infringement claims, which Samsung has been fighting tooth and nail, alleging juror misconduct in post-trial motions.
Apple has suffered setbacks of its own in the past week with regard to its patent portfolio. Also on Wednesday, a Dutch court reaffirmed its previous finding that Samsung has not infringed an Apple touch event model patent, in line with recent court decisions in the U.K. and Germany.
On Monday, meanwhile, Samsung revealed in a filing with the California federal court that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office has reexamined and invalidated a key Apple patent at the heart of the trial, covering its iPhone and iPad "rubber banding" display bounce-back feature.
The rubber banding patent, entitled "List scrolling and document translation, scaling and rotation on a touch-screen display," covers a method of detecting movement on a touch screen and rolling the display forward or backward when the end of the available display is reached.
The European Patent Office is already pursuing its own review of the European equivalent of the U.S. rubber banding patent, at the request of Samsung and others.