ITC bans imports of some Samsung devices, but Apple victory is not clear

The U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday ordered a ban on the import and sale of older Samsung Electronics devices after ruling that they infringed on two Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patents. However, the ITC's decision is not a clear victory for Apple in the two companies' long-running patent battle. Earlier this month the Obama administration on Saturday effectively vetoed a looming U.S. import ban on older models of Apple's iPhone and iPad, overturning a ruling from the ITC in a rare decision. The administration now has 60 days to decide whether to do the same thing in this new case, and not doing so could increase trade tensions with South Korea, where Samsung is based, notes the Wall Street Journal.

In the new case decided on Friday, the ITC said that Samsung had infringed the feature patent for a multitouch screen and one for detecting when headphone jacks are plugged in. Samsung was cleared of infringing Apple's design patents, according to Bloomberg. It's unclear how much Samsung's sales could be hurt by the import ban, or even which products are covered under the ban; an earlier ruling included the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. "We have already taken measures to ensure that all of our products will continue to be available in the United States," a Samsung spokesman told the Journal. 

The two companies, No. 1 and 2 in the smartphone market, have reportedly held settlement talks in recent months, but no deal appears at hand.