The US government is investigating Apple over patent infringement allegations

Tim Cook in shadesREUTERS/Rick WilkingApple CEO Tim Cook.

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) is investigating Apple over allegations of patent infringement, Apple Insider reports.

The Cupertino company is locked in an ongoing battle with Swedish telecoms company Ericsson over its use of certain wireless patents that Ericsson holds.

Last month, the Swedish company announced that it was suing Apple over alleged patent infringements, and that it was filing a complaint with the ITC.

The technology industry is no stranger to protracted legal wrangling over patents. Apple and Samsung were embroiled in copyright wars for years over a number of alleged infringements. These complaints typically take years to settle, meaning that settlements or rulings often come long after the technology they pertain to is obsolete.

But PC World’s Martyn Williams points out that the ITC’s involvement could mean this case will be different: The federal body “acts faster and can ban products from being imported to the US if they find there is a likelihood of infringement,” Williams writes. “An import ban has an immediate effect on sales and can pressure a defendant into settling.”

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