The U.S. International Trade Commission today announced that its members have voted to begin an investigation on Apple's behalf into whether Samsung infringes on Apple's intellectual property with its mobile phones, tablets, and other hardware.
Apple first filed that complaint on July 5, seeking to have the Korean tech giant's devices barred from being imported into the U.S. That was just a week after Samsung had targeted the iPhone, iPod, and Mac maker with its own ITC complaint seeking similar ends. Both of these complaints were on top of the legal battle the two companies face in courts around the world with a flurry of lawsuits Apple first kicked off in April.
As the ITC noted in a release about the investigation, the case still needs to be assigned to an administrative law judge, which is followed by a hearing. That's followed by the initial determination, which can be reviewed by the ITC's commission ahead of the final determination.
Apple filed its lawsuit against Samsung in the U.S. in April, alleging that the consumer electronics giant had violated its intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices. That suit takes aim specifically at the Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets, as well as other Samsung smartphones, for "copying" Apple's user interface and design features. In it, Apple claims Samsung is infringing on its patents and is practicing unfair competition. Samsung returned the favor a week later, countersuing Apple, alleging that the iPhone and iPad maker was infringing on several of its patents.
News of the investigation was reported by Reuters earlier today.