US trade panel opens probe into Apple for patent infringement

As Apple became the first US company to touch the $2 trillion mark, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) announced to launch an investigation to find whether its mobile devices and Macs violate patents owned by Japanese consumer electronics company Maxell.

The USITC on Wednesday voted to institute an investigation of certain mobile electronic devices and laptop computers and identified “Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA, as the respondent in this investigation”.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Maxell of Kyoto, Japan, on July 17.

Maxell filed a complaint with the USITC, alleging that Apple’s mobile devices, tablets, smartwatches, and laptop computers violate patents related to passcode unlocking, WiFi assist, mobile communications, facial recognition in the Photos app, and more.

“The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the US and sale of certain mobile electronic devices and laptop computers that infringe patents asserted by the complainant,” the USITC said in a statement.

“The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order”.

The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation as early as possible.

Within 45 days after the institution of the investigation, the USITC will set a target date for completing the investigation.

Maxell manufactures consumer electronics like batteries, wireless charging products, storage devices, LCD and laser projectors and functional materials.

Apple was yet to comment on the USITC statement.