In the adorable he said/she said that is the Nokia-Apple patent spat, the ITC has begun its official investigation of Apple. So what? The ITC has the power to ban the sale of Apple products in the US, that's what.
Nokia first sued Apple last October over 10 patent infringements in the iPhone, but didn't file with the ITC until late December. What's interesting about yesterday's move is that while the ITC has started investigating Apple, they haven't yet taken a similar measure against Nokia, despite Apple's similar complaints.
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Where does this leave us? Well, while the ITC can ban the sale of iPhones in the US, there's no way Apple would ever let that happen. All the wrangling is ultimately over over which company is going to owe the other hundreds of millions of dollars. It's a process that'll take months to play out, but so far it looks like Apple's on the losing side of the ledger. [Reuters via Apple Insider]