The U.S. International Trade Commission has begun to file a probe into Apple, in accordance with the requests of rival phone manufacturer Nokia.
The two companies have been in extended legal wrangling since October, when Nokia claimed Apple was using their patents without permission. In December, the Finnish company called the ITC into the picture, over seven patents it alleges Apple used in iPhones, iPods and computers.
Apple also requested that the ITC investigate Nokia for similar reasons, but the commission has yet to decide if it will do so. The ITCs involvement at this stage is seen as a significant tactical win for Nokia.
The ITC has the ability to ban Apple products for sale in the USA, but it is doubtful that this will occur. Nokia is seeking payment of up to 1 billion euro/$1.4 billion.