Apple has asked the International Trade Commission to postpone an import ban on the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 while a court considers its appeal. The ban is set to go into affect on August 5 — just under four weeks away — but Apple has argued that it will “sweep away an entire segment of Apple’s product offerings” and harm iPhone carrier partners.
The ban comes stems from one of many worldwide legal battles between Apple and Samsung. Samsung secured a surprise victory back in June when the ITC found that earlier version of the iPhone and the iPad infringed one of the South Korean company’s patents that covers encoding technology.
The ITC automatically imposed an import ban on the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 — both of which are now Apple’s entry-level product offerings available to those who cannot afford its high-end devices. If the ban goes ahead next month, Apple says it will wipe out a very important market.
If the Orders go into effect, Apple will lose not only sales of its iPhone 4 (GSM) and iPad 2 3G (GSM) products but also the opportunity to gain new smartphone and tablet customers who otherwise would have purchased these entry-level Apple devices.
Apple also states that the products have been purchased by carrier partners in the United States, and that they remain “strong sellers.” As such, the company insists the carrier “will be placed at a competitive disadvantage against their CDMA competitors because the Orders will prevent them from offering these popular, entry-level devices.”
As the ban only applies to the GSM variants of these devices, those designed for CDMA networks are not affected. Therefore, carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile would have to stop selling the iPhone 4, while Verizon could continue — which is why Apple mentions a “competitive disadvantage” for the two.
The ban is subject to a 60-day review period by the President of the United States, but GigaOM points out that presidential intervention is highly unlikely. What’s more, the ITC did not give Apple any additional time to find away around the ban when it was handed down last June.
Apple is fighting to have the ban stayed, however, at least until a decision is made by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, where Apple has appealed the ITC’s decision.
Apple feels that the Court of Appeals will find Samsung’s patent invalid and then quash the ban. But if the ITC doesn’t agree to the stay, then Court of Appeals may not get a chance to rule on the appeal before the ban is put into place.