ITC bans early iPhone shipments

Early models of the iPhone have been banned from sale in the US because they use technology which belonged to Samsung.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Apple had infringed on a patent owned by Samsung that involves the ability of devices to transmit multiple services simultaneously and correctly through 3G.

This means that the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G will not be allowed to be sold. Now Apple has 60 days to convince its chums in the White House to get Barack Obama to overturn the order.

According to Reuters, the decision remains subject to a long appeals process.

The iPhone 4 is now given away with a contract offered by carriers including Verizon Wireless, which is not affected by the ruling which only Applies to AT&T. The iPhone 4 could be phased out within a year should Apple stick to schedule and release a new model, so it is expected that Apple will try to appeal until the hardware is out of date.

There is a danger that US customs agencies enforcing the ban could delay other Apple products as it will have to stop and search every shipment to make sure they do not contain Samsung clones.

Yesterday’s ruling overturned a decision by ITC Judge James Gildea, who ruled in September that Apple did not violate the patents.

Samsung, making the most of it, said the ITC decision “confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological innovations” .