The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has handed Apple a preliminary victory in one of its many disputes with Samsung, ruling that the Korean electronics giant did, indeed, infringe upon a patent relating to text selection.
The patent in question, RE41,922, is entitled "Method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display." In it's unusually long 50 pages of text and illustrations, the patent describes "blending" a translucent overlay onto a base image, then operating on that thus-selected base in some fashion.
According to a report by Reuters on Friday afternoon, an ITC judge has ruled that Samsung did infringe on that patent, but not another patent in dispute that related to the detection of a a microphone or other device is plugged into a device's input jack. As of Friday afternoon, the ruling had not yet been posted on the ITC's website.
The ruling will now go before the full commission, which will decide whether or not to accept it. Its decision is expected this August.
If it does accept the ruling, the ITC can bar the importation of infringing Samsung kit into the US. Since the case was filed in mid-2011, it's not likely that any of Samsung's current best-sellers are in danger of being locked out of the US market – Reuters refers to "Samsung's Galaxy, Transform and Nexus devices, among others" as being subject to the ban, but offers no specifics.
Apple has been doing well at the ITC in its global patent was with Samsung. Last September, for example, iCupertino won a four-patent ruling, successfully defending itself against Samsung's charges that it had infringed on patents relating to CDMA systems, packet-data reliability, phone-number dialing, and digital-document user interfaces.
At that time, a trade-case lawyer told Bloomberg, "Apple at the ITC is bulletproof. Nobody can get any traction against them there. The lesson is, if you want to get relief against Apple, it's going to have to be in a foreign forum where it doesn't have the clout or the cachet it has at the ITC or the northern district of California."
As of Friday's ruling, that does indeed appear to be the case. ®