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Apple faces delay in decision over sales ban of iPhone, iPad

The U.S. International Trade Commission won't rule on Samsung's request for an iPhone and iPad ban in the U.S. until May 31.

Apple and Samsung both have to wait a couple more months for the U.S. International Trade Commission to decide whether iPhone and iPad sales should be banned due to patent violations.

One of countless legal disputes between the two companies, this particular case kicked off in August 2011.

Samsung had filed a complaint with the ITC accusing Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch of violating four of its key patents. As such, the Korean phone maker requested that the products be banned from being sold in the United States.

Last September, a judge for the ITC issued a preliminary ruling clearing Apple of the patent violations. But because the ruling was preliminary, the ITC's full six-member commission still had to render its decision, which was supposed to occur Tuesday.

Apple and Samsung were undoubtedly anxious to hear that ruling. But the decision has now been put off until May 31.

In a notice released yesterday, the ITC said it delayed the decision because it wants to get feedback on the effects of a sales ban of the Apple products in question.

Specifically, the ITC is looking for responses to such questions as how such a sales ban would affect the public interest, what devices could serve as substitutes for the banned products, and how a remedy for the alleged patent violations could avoid harming the public interest.

The ITC is seeking written submissions to its questions by the end of April 3, giving Apple, Samsung, and other interested parties about three weeks to respond.