The US International Trade Commission on Friday blocked imports of some Samsung electronic devices following complaints by Apple that the South Korean company had violated its patents.
The ruling by the Washington-based US trade body was the latest in a long-running and bitter global legal battle over alleged patent infringement between the two smartphone and tablet computer giants.
The ITC ruled that Samsung had infringed two Apple patents -- numbers 949 and 501, dealing with touchscreen actions and headphone jack plug-ins -- but cleared the South Korean company of charges that it had violated four more.
Apple welcomed the ITC ruling while Samsung expressed its disappointment.
"With today's decision, the ITC has joined courts around the world in Japan, Korea, Germany, Netherlands and California by standing up for innovation and rejecting Samsung's blatant copying of Apple's products," Apple said in a statement.
"Protecting real innovation is what the patent system should be about," it said.
Spokesman Adam Yates said Samsung is "disappointed that the ITC has issued an exclusion order based on two of Apple's patents."
"However, Apple has been stopped from trying to use its overbroad design patents to achieve a monopoly on rectangles and rounded corners," Yates said. "The proper focus for the smartphone industry is not a global war in the courts, but fair competition in the marketplace.
"Samsung will continue to launch many innovative products and we have already taken measures to ensure that all our of products will continue to be available in the United States," the Samsung spokesman said.
The import block, which would mainly impact older Samsung devices, is subject to a review by the White House and Samsung will be allowed to continue to sell the items at issue during the two-month review period.
Less than a week ago, the US Trade Representative overturned an ITC ruling in a patent suit brought by Samsung against Apple that would have banned the sale of certain iPads and iPhones in the United States.
It was the first time the USTR has overruled the commission since 1987, and South Korea's trade ministry made its feelings clear at the time.
"Our ministry expresses concern about negative impacts the decision by the USTR will have on protecting patents held by Samsung," it said in a statement.
In a separate battle in US federal court, Samsung was ordered last August to pay more than $1 billion for patent infringement, a ruling which also opens the door to a ban on some Samsung devices.
A judge later slashed the award to $598.9 million.