Apple's complaint over Samsung Galaxy Tab earns ITC review

Apple's "look and feel" patent infringement suit against Samsung has gained the attention of the International Trade Commission (ITC), which has the power to block imports of products if it determines they infringe on patents. According to Bloomberg, the ITC usually takes 15 to 18 months to complete reviews and decide whether or not to block imports.

Although the ITC has the power to block imports of products if it determines they violate patents, things rarely reach that point. Instead, the threat of an outright importation embargo usually forces companies to the negotiating table, where millions of dollars in patent licensing fees subsequently change hands. Notably, Samsung is not launching the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, though according to AllThingsD the company claims it has nothing to do with Apple issuing a complaint with the Federal Court in that country.

Apple has accused Samsung of willfully copying both the iPhone and the iPad in the hardware design of the Galaxy line, and a casual glance at the products does indeed show many design similarities. On closer inspection the differences between the companies' products become much clearer, however, so it may take the courts a long time to determine whether Samsung's products violate Apple's patents or not.