The International Trade Commission has ruled in favor of Samsung in a dispute with Apple over patent-infringing cellular technology. The decision will result in a ban on the sales of some older model iOS devices, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G, according to Reuters.
The patent in question has to do with wireless technology and the models singled out for exclusion are all Apple devices built for AT&T’s wireless network.
Apple will be appealing the ruling, according to a statement given to AllThingsD by an Apple spokeswoman: “We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal. Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States.”
AT&T did not immediately responded to a request for comment.
Samsung’s patent claim with the ITC was filed two years ago. It’s part of the ongoing war between the two competitors who dominate the global mobile market. But this issue is separate from last summer’s federal court trial where Apple won a $1.1 billion verdict over Samsung; that award has since been reduced and some products involved in that decision are getting a new trial.
Tuesday’s ITC ruling (PDF) has been labeled a “final” decision but it can still be reversed. It will be sent to the White House and the president has 60 days to overrule it.
It’s not the end of the world for Apple if a three-year-old iPad and four-year-old iPhone can’t be sold in the U.S. anymore. But the ban on the iPhone 4 could pose some real consequences for Apple (and AT&T). The iPhone 4 is free with a two-year contract, and it’s doing really well with late arrivals to the smartphone revolution and with price-sensitive customers. That could throw a small kink into Apple’s plans to use the older devices to broaden Apple’s customer base.
But if anything it’s temporary; even if President Obama elects not to overrule the ITC’s decision, Apple was very likely to stop selling the iPhone 4 in three or four months anyway. Once the iPhone 5S or 6 or whatever it will be called is introduced this fall, the iPhone 4S will in all likelihood become the iPhone that’s free with contract and the iPhone 5 will be $99 with a two-year agreement.
This post was updated at 3:17 p.m. PT with Apple’s response.