Back in September 2012, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge James Gildea issued a ruling in one of the many Samsung v Apple cases, finding Apple had not infringed on four Samsung patents being contested in the complaint. Judge Gildea also found Samsung had engaged in a pattern of patent abuse in using their FRAND patents to stifle competition by seeking sales injunctions as part of their legal strategy. Since then, Judge Gildea has been working on finalizing the ruling, including presenting it to the full commission for approval. Until recently, the date for that final action was thought to be January 14th. A notice from the ITC indicates the commission will not take up the matter until February 6th.
Any time a schedule change occurs in court matters, it leads to speculation by different parties regarding the reason for the new delay. In this case, many are pointing to action Samsung took last month to drop all injunction requests related to their FRAND lawsuits in Europe. In addition to the U.S., Samsung is also being investigated in Europe regarding similar accusations of using their FRAND patents for anti-competitive purposes. Some observers assume Samsung took their action in the European courts in order to avoid hefty fines.
Apple took note of Samsung’s move as well and proceeded to file a Notice of New Facts with Judge Gildea. That filing was made only ten days ago and appears to be the reason for the delay as Judge Gildea considers the significance, if any, of the new facts.