South Korea's Samsung Electronics has won a significant legal victory over U.S.-based Apple in the contentious dispute between the two technology giants over patent rights.
The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled Tuesday that Apple violated a Samsung patent involving technology related to the transmission of information over wireless devices. In a decision last year, Apple won a court decision that Samsung had violated several of its patents.
The latest decision could block the U.S. import and sale of some of Apple's older hand-held electronic devices, including its popular iPhone 4, that are manufactured at Asian factories. The iPhone 4 has been marketed as a low-cost option compared to some of Apple's newer models that are not affected by the ruling.
Samsung said the ruling by the trade commission confirmed its belief that Apple has a "history of free-riding" on the company's innovations.
Apple said it would appeal the verdict in U.S. courts. It could also be overturned by U.S. President Barack Obama, although no American leader has exercised such veto power in a patent dispute in several decades.
Apple and Samsung have vied for worldwide supremacy in the sales of cellphones. Samsung was once a small competitor in the market, but now sells more smartphones than Apple.