U.S. trade panel to probe devices of eight smartphone vendors

An illustration picture shows a network cable next to a pack of smartphones in Berlin, June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is launching an investigation into mobile devices made by eight smartphone vendors including Samsung Electronics Co 005930.KS over an alleged patent violation, the trade panel said on its website.

The probe follows a complaint filed by Singapore-based Creative Technology Ltd CREA.SI and U.S.-based Creative Labs Inc that several handset makers have infringed on their patent, the ITC said in a statement.

The accused vendors are ZTE Corp 000063.SZ0763.HK, Sony Corp 6758.T, Samsung, LG Electronics Inc 066570.KS, Lenovo Group Ltd 0992.HK, Motorola Mobility, HTC Corp 2498.TW and Blackberry Ltd BB.TO.

“The products at issue in the investigation are portable electronic devices, such as smartphones, with the capability of playing stored media files selected by a user from a hierarchical display,” ITC wrote.

The trade panel said it has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case, and will decide a target date for completing investigation within 45 days after the institution of the investigation.

Creative Technology was not immediately available for comment. HTC said it cannot comment as the case has entered the court process.

Samsung and LG said they are looking into the case and didn’t have any other immediate comment. Sony declined to comment. ZTE, Lenovo and other vendors were not immediately available.

“It’s rare to see so many vendors involved in one patent infringement case,” said research firm Canalys analyst Nicole Peng.

While the share price reaction of most Asia-based companies was muted, Hong Kong-listed shares of ZTE tumbled 11 percent on Friday to their lowest since July 2013. The Shenzhen-based company faced export restrictions imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department in March for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran.

Reporting By Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in TAIPEI and Jee Heun Kahng in SEOUL, Makiko Yamazaki in TOKYO; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman