Apple asks ITC for stay on sales ban affecting older iPhones, iPads

The iPhone and iPad maker says it will suffer "irreparable harm" if its request for a stay on a ban of older tablet and smartphone sales is not granted.

Image: CNET

Apple has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to hold off on a sales ban that will see older iPhone and iPad models pulled from store shelves until a court evaluates the company's bid for appeal.

The motion, filed on Monday and first spotted by GigaOm, argued Apple will suffer "irreparable harm" if the sales ban goes into effect on August 5. The company also said it would "sweep away an entire segment of Apple's product offerings," and harm its cellular and carrier partners.

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The request for a stay comes just over a month after the ITC issued a limited import ban on some Apple products after ruling the company infringed on a Samsung-owned patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,706,348.

The ITC notice [PDF] detailed the U.S. import ban as affecting AT&T versions of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, iPad 2 3G devices. The ban would prevent Apple from importing these products into the U.S. as they are manufactured in China.

Apple argued that should the ban go ahead: "Apple will lose not only sales of its iPhone 4 (GSM) and iPad 2 3G (GSM) products but also the opportunity to gain new smartphone and tablet customers who otherwise would have purchased these entry- level Apple devices."

The ban will only affect GSM carriers, such as AT&T, which was named in the suit. However, as T-Mobile US is now an official reseller of iPhones and iPads, it will also be hit. Sprint and Verizon will not be affected as they use CDMA technologies.

Apple noted that its GSM carrier partners will be placed "at a competitive disadvantage against their CDMA competitors" because the sales ban will prevent AT&T and T-Mobile from selling the devices.

The iPhone 4 was the fourth most popular smartphone in 2012, according to the company, meaning an entire slice of its market would be wiped out. 

The final ruling can however be overturned by the Federal Circuit Court or the White House.