The Obama administration has ruled to uphold a ban on certain Samsung products after the International Trade Commission ruled that the Korean company has infringed on some of the company’s patents. The move is a big one in the slowing patent war between the two companies, though it may seem hollow when the details are studied.

Apple Samsung

The ban, which is based on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) patents for a headphone jack sensor and multi-touch features, will block the importation of the Samsung Galaxy, Samsung Galaxy SII, and the Galaxy Ace. Those phones are older models so the embargo will have little effect on the bottom line of either Samsung or Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Apple still on top

A report from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who recently upgraded the company to Buy, looked at the ban in a deeper way. Misek recognizes the cosmetic unimportance of the import ban, but highlights the fact that it was based on feature patents rather than standardized patents. An earlier case against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was ruled reasonable by the Obama administration earlier this year.

Misek believes that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a strong position in patents covering differentiating features, and that might mean the difference in the patent wars. The case that was overturned by the administration in June was based on wireless data transmission, part of a stable of mobile features deemed essential.

If Misek is right about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and the importance of feature patents in future intellectual property cases, the firm will have the upper hand. Patent cases have been more of a sideline in the smartphone battle so far, but there is always the chance that a big case could make or break a company in the years to come.

Apple patent victory

Samsung fans will surely allege a bias in the White House for the U.S.-based Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but Internet comment sections have little bearing on decisions on Pennsylvania Avenue. There are still many cases between Apple and Samsung to go, and Misek says that this decision gives the Cupertino company the upper hand going ahead.

Misek kept his Buy rating and $600 price target on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock in this report. The next big news from the company will likely come on October 22, when the firm is rumored to be launching the next generation iPad.