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미국 ITC "애플, 삼성 스마트폰 특허 침해"

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Published : 2013-06-05 09:18
Updated : 2013-06-05 10:07

 



미국 국제무역위원회(ITC )는 4일(현지시간) 삼성전자가 애플을 상대로 낸 스마트폰 특허 침해 사건에서 삼성전자의 주장을 받아들였다.

ITC는 이날 자체 웹사이트에 게재한 결정문에서 애플 제품이 삼성전자의 특허를 침해했다고 밝히고 관련 애플 제품의 수입을 금지할 수 있도록 했다.

해당되는 애플 제품은 AT&T 이동통신사용으로 나온 아이폰3, 아이폰3GS, 아이폰 4와 3세대(3G) 이동통신을 사용하는 아이패드, 아이패드2 등이다.

이 가운데 아이폰4와 아이패드2는 애플의 공식 온•오프라인 매장인 애플스토어 에서 판매하고 있는 제품으로 애플의 매출에 직접적인 영향을 줄 것으로 보인다.

아이폰4는 이동통신사와 2년 약정 시 무료로 시판 중이며 아이패드2는 529달러(약 59만4천원)에 팔고 있다.

ITC가 애플이 침해한 것으로 최종 판단한 특허는 7706348특허('348특허)로  '코드분할다중접속(CDMA) 무선 통신체계에서 전송형식 조합 지시자를 부호화•복호화하 는 방법과 장치'에 대한 기술이다. 이는 삼성전자가 보유한 3세대(3G) 이동통신 관련 필수표준특허(SEP)다. 삼성전자가 제기한 다른 특허 3건에 대한 침해는 인정되지 않았다.

또 아이폰4S는 이번 판정의 대상 제품이었지만 ITC는 이 제품의 삼성 특허 침해를 인정하지 않았다.

이는 퀄컴이 삼성전자에 특허 사용료를 내고 칩을 만들었기 때문에 퀄컴의 부품을 사용하면 삼성과 직접 특허 사용 계약을 맺지 않아도 된다는 애플의 이른바  '특허소진론'을 ITC가 받아들였기 때문으로 보인다.

애플은 아이폰4S 이후 제품부터 퀄컴의 칩을 사용하고 있기 때문에 아이폰5 등 최신 제품이 향후 추가로 수입금지가 될 가능성은 크지 않은 것으로 보인다.

이날 최종판정에 따라 ITC는 버락 오바마 대통령에게 중국 팍스콘 공장 등 해외 에서 조립되는 해당 애플 제품의 수입 금지를 건의할 수 있으며, 오바마 대통령은 60일 내에 결정을 내려야 한다.

이번 판결은 ITC가 지난해 8월 예비판정에서는 애플이 삼성전자의 표준특허를 한 건도 침해하지 않았다고 판단했던 것을 뒤집은 것인데다 미국 캘리포니아 북부 연방지방법원의 판결과도 배치되는 것이어서 주목된다.

지적재산권 전문가 플로리안 뮐러는 그러나 자신의 블로그인  '포스페이턴츠'에 서 이번 판정이 구형 아이폰과 아이패드에만 적용되는 것이어서 애플의 매출에 미치 는 영향은 제한적일 것이라고 분석했다.

애플의 삼성전자 특허 침해 사안에 대한 ITC의 최종 판정은 당초 지난 1월14일로 예정됐었으나 무려 5차례나 연기된 뒤 이날 발표됐다.

삼성전자는 이날 판정에 대해 "이번 ITC의 결정은 애플이 삼성의 특허를 무단으 로 사용했다는 사실을 인정한 것"이라며 "앞으로도 우리의 지적재산권을 지키는 데 최선을 다할 것"이라고 공식 입장을 내놨다.

 

<관련 영문 기사>

Apple violates some of Samsung's patents: ITC

Apple Inc. faces a ban on imports of some older devices including the iPhone 4 after a U.S. trade agency said they infringe a patent owned by Samsung Electronics Co., its biggest competitor in the global smartphone market.

It’s the first patent ruling against Apple in the U.S. that affects product sales. The order covers the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G sold for use on networks operated by AT&T Inc., T-Mobile US Inc. and two regional carriers, General Communication Inc. in Alaska and CT Cube LP in Texas.

The U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision, in a notice posted on its website today, is subject to review by President Barack Obama, who can overturn the import ban on public-policy grounds. That rarely happens.

“Historically, the president does not interfere in these sorts of things,” said Lyle Vander Schaaf, a patent lawyer with Brinks Hofer in Washington. “It shows the commission is a very bold agency that they are willing to take these steps despite the popularity of the Apple products.”

The decision could mean fewer choices for AT&T and T-Mobile customers who want to get an iPhone without paying the higher cost of the iPhone 5. Samsung told the commission that Cupertino, California-based Apple could drop the price of the iPhone 5 if it was worried about losing potential customers.

The three-year-old iPhone 4 is still a hot-selling product, said Marcelo Claure, chief executive officer of Brightstar Corp., a cell-phone distributor with operations in 50 countries.

“Anytime you can’t sell your entire portfolio, it’s a big deal,” he said. Unlike Samsung, which sells hundreds of models, Apple sells only the iPhone 4, 4S and 5.

Apple, which can continue importing the devices during Obama’s review, pledged to appeal the ITC decision. The underlying findings will be reviewed by a U.S. appeals court specializing in patent cases.

“We are disappointed that the commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States.”

With dozens of lawsuits spread across four continents in their global battle for a greater share of the $293.9 billion market for smartphones, each side can now claim a victory in the U.S. litigation.

Apple won a $1 billion verdict last year that has since been cut to about $600 million. It was based on a jury finding that Samsung devices copied the look and unique features of the iPhone and iPad. The commission is scheduled to release a final decision in Apple’s trade case against Samsung in August.

Samsung Innovations

“We believe the ITC’s final determination has confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological innovations,” Adam Yates, a Samsung spokesman, said. “Our decades of research and development in mobile technologies will continue, and we will continue to offer innovative products to consumers in the United States.”

In the ITC case, Apple was found to infringe a patent for a widely-used way that phones transmit data. Apple argued that Samsung was obligated to license the patent on fair terms because it was part of an industry standard and instead the company demanded an unreasonable royalty.

Obama’s administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in January urged the ITC to closely look at patents that relate to industry standards before issuing any import bans. Obama earlier today announced further actions designed to crackdown on abusive patent litigation from what critics have called “trolls.”

Commission Dissent

“Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world,” Huguet said. “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.”

The commission said Samsung’s obligations didn’t preclude the issuance of an import ban. Commissioner Dean Pinkert dissented on public-interest grounds, according to the notice.

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, contended Apple infringes four patents, including two covering data transmission. U.S. trade Judge James Gildea sided with Apple in September, saying Apple didn’t infringe any of the patents and that one, for a way to detect movement on a touch screen, was invalid.

The fourth patent in the case is for a way to detect phone numbers in e-mails so they can be dialed or stored in the phone’s contact list.

Licensing Fees

The commission agreed with the judge on the other three patents.

Apple contends Samsung never made a fair offer and demanded that Apple pay 2.4 percent of the average sales price of every iPhone and cellular-enabled iPad, according to filings with the agency.

The iPhone generated $78.7 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, or about 50 percent of Apple’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its iPad brought in $30.9 billion, and the iPod generated $5.6 billion.

In its filings, Samsung said it’s been offering Apple a license since November 2010 and “Apple has never been willing to take a license on any terms.”

Apple has for two years claimed Samsung “slavishly copied” the iPhone, while Samsung contends that Apple entered the mobile-phone market without paying royalties to the companies that built the industry.

Samsung’s case against Apple is In the Matter of Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, 337-794, and Apple’s case against Samsung is In the Matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices, 337-796, both U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). (Bloomberg)

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