The International Trade Commission has extended the Samsung and Apple patent case to give industry experts a chance to comment on the effect that an iPhone sales ban would have on the public.
Opening up the case for comment could mean the ITC is considering a sales ban on the iPhone and iPad. A verdict in the Apple patent infringement case will be pushed back a second time following the ITC's decision.
The ITC want's to identify the potential effect a ban on Apple mobile products would have on the public. Specifically, the group is curious to know what a ban on iPads and iPhones would have on the overall smartphone market.
"The content of these questions may imply that the Commission could be leaning toward a finding that Apple infringes US patent number 7706348," wrote associate at the Dow Lohnes' Litigation Practice Group Matt Rizzolo in a blog post on the case.
A key patent in the case is Samsung's patent numbered 7706348. Samsung alleges that Apple infringes on the patent which handles 3G communication encoding and decoding.
In its notice of extension officials ask for comment on what current generation smartphones are legally using the '348 patent. Samsung alleges that its patent is essential for use in the 3G standard.
The Galaxy S4 maker has reportedly allowed competing firms to use the patent for a fee in the past. However, Apple currently does not own a licence for use of the patent.
This marks the second time this year that the ITC has extended Samsung and Apple's patent case. Last January, the group was suppose to have reached a verdict in the case but decided to postpone the matter until March.
The ITC now expects the case to come to a close by 31 May. Those interested in submitting comment to the ITC are encouraged to send written commentary to the group anytime before 3 April.
ITC official's decision to extend the trial is not a unanimous one. ITC commissioner Shara Aranoff wrote that the call for comment on the case is unnecessary as the ITC already has enough information on the subject.
According to commissioner Aranoff, their have been enough opportunities to comment on the case and delaying the verdict only stands to raise more irrelevant issues.
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