THE UNITED STATES International Trade Commission (ITC) has postponed its ruling on whether to ban iPhone imports in Samsung's patent infringement complaint against Apple until 31 May.
The ITC was due to issue its decision in Samsung's patent infringement case on Tuesday, after an ITC judge issued a preliminary ruling clearing Apple of patent infringement back in September. Instead, it released a statement saying that it will postpone making a final ruling until 31 May.
It said it wants to request comments on how a ban would affect the market for other smartphone and tablet makers first, and to look into whether there are acceptabe alternatives on the market. Why it couldn't have done this sooner, we don't know.
The ITC said, "Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined to extend the target date for completion of the investigation until May 31, 2013. The Commission requests additional written submissions from the parties and from the public on the issues indicated in this notice."
While the postponement is good news for Apple, delaying the ruling means that the ITC clearly is being cautious about making a decision - suggesting that it might be leaning towards recognising that Apple infringes Samsung's patent relating to transmitting data.
Either that, or the ITC could be giving Apple time to work around or license the patent, Rodney Sweetland, a lawyer with Duane Morris in Washington who specializes in ITC cases, told Bloomberg.
"Were they not thinking about a violation, they would not need to ask for further information of this nature," Sweetland said.
The ITC said it will announce its ruling on 31 May. µ