Could Samsung’s Victory Mean iPhone 4 Sales Could Be Blocked In The US?

Live by the sword, die by the sword; just as Apple has used the U.S.’s obtuse and complicated patent laws to beat a billion dollars out of Samsung and attempt to block sales of some of that company’s wares, Samsung won a similar injunction against Apple that may prohibit the import and sale of some older iPhones and iPads in the U.S.

U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled this week that Apple infringed on one of Samsung’s patents (US7706348 B2), which pertains to “Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system”.

iPhone 4
The banned iPhone 4

The offending Apple devices include the AT&T versions of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G. The ITC laid down a cease and desist order against Apple, stating that the company could no longer sell or distribute those devices in the U.S.

U.S. ITC building
U.S. ITC building

It’s a rather stunning ruling, to be sure, even though it probably isn’t much a problem for Apple since these are all slightly older devices. But what’s perhaps more stunning is what Apple’s spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD in the wake of the ruling:

Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world. They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.

Assuming she’s flat out wrong about the licensing part (because the ITC found a case of infringement, which logically wouldn’t happen with a licensed technology), this is as bold a case of the pot calling the kettle black as you’ll find.