The US International Trade Commission has delayed its final decision on Samsung’s patent case against Apple until May 31, Bloomberg reports.

The commission extended the deadline in order to investigate the potential ramifications of an import ban against Apple’s iPhone and iPad. While the ITC doesn’t have the power to levy damages against parties found to have infringed on patents, it can issue import restrictions against offending companies.

In the case, Samsung is asserting four data transmission patents against Apple. The company first filed its complaint against the iPhone maker in June 2011, and the ITC agreed to investigate it that July. A judge with the commission found Apple innocent in a preliminary ruling last September. Apple won a preliminary ITC ruling against Samsung last October with its own countersuit.

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung has been a protracted one. Last year, Apple was awarded over $1 billion in a separate lawsuit against its rival, but a judge recently cut $450 million from it, bringing the new total to just under $600 million.

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