If there was any doubt about the importance of standard-essential patent issues at the ITC, we can certainly put that to rest. For the second time in a week, the Commission issued a Notice extending the target date for its Final Determination in Inv. No. 337-TA-794, the Section 337 investigation based on Samsung’s August 2011 complaint against Apple. But unlike its last brief extension, the ITC this time extended its deadline until May 31, 2013 — and requested additional comments on the public interest and briefing from the parties on several issues.
The Commission’s particular questions (reproduced after the jump) show just how seriously the ITC is taking standard-essential patent issues. Additionally, the content of these questions may imply that the Commission could be leaning toward a finding that Apple infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,706,348 — a patent that Samsung has alleged is essential to the UMTS 3G cellular standard — and is now trying to decide what if any remedy it should order.