Were you thinking about picking up an iPhone 4 on the cheap at AT&T? You might want to do so now as new shipments might not be making it here anytime soon.
The Hill reports that the ITC ruled that Apple had infringed upon Samsung’s patents with the AT&T variants of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. The decision calls for an immediate ban on selling these devices in the U.S., as well as importing units into the country.
Obviously, Apple will appeal the decision. It’s also confident that it will have no effect on its business. It’s easy to see why. It’s doubtful anybody buys the iPhone 4 anymore, and older iPad models are not really in vogue anymore either.
Still, Samsung’s win is a pretty major blow to Apple. It may not hurt the company’s sales, but it does reverse a year of legal battles in the U.S. where Apple was always winning against Samsung. Last year, a jury found that Samsung had infringed upon numerous patents from Apple and were ordered to pay a little over $1 billion in damages. Since then, the damages award has been decreased, and the entire trial has even been called into question.
As for elsewhere in the world, Samsung has been largely successful in challenging and defeating Apple on patent issues. Last year, it won patent battles in the Netherlands, Japan and Germany.
After all of this, the Apple haters may be shouting for joy, but that only serves to distract from the very real problem of overly zealous patent litigation. It’s gotten to be an absolute mess with hardware designers being ever more careful with their products so as not to infringe the thousands of patents one company may hold on common sense actions.
In the end, it’s only the consumer that hurts. Apple can shrug off a ban on iPhone 4 sales from a single carrier. The consumer can’t shrug off the fact that they’re being shafted by corporate warfare.