Obama administration overrules Apple product ban
The rare White House intervention comes amid a heated patent war between Apple and Samsung over claims that each is violating the other’s exclusive design and technology rights.
The New York Times
The Obama administration has vetoed a product ban that would have forced Apple to stop selling some iPhones and iPads in the United States this week.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in June ordered a ban of older-model Apple products that worked with AT&T’s network, including the iPhone 4 and 3GS, and some variations of the iPad 2, after determining that Apple had violated a patent that Samsung owned related to transmission of data over cellular networks. The ban had been scheduled to go into effect Sunday.
The rare White House intervention comes amid a heated patent war between the two companies over claims that each is violating the other’s exclusive design and technology rights.
Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, wrote in his decision that it was based in part on the “effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.”
Apple argued that Samsung had committed to licensing its patents related to wireless technology standards, but was refusing to keep that promise. Samsung said Apple refused to pay licensing fees for its patents.
Samsung, based in South Korea, said it was disappointed. Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said: “We applaud the administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case.”
Froman said his decision did not mean Samsung was “not entitled to a remedy. On the contrary, the patent owner may continue to pursue its rights through the courts.”
The two companies in recent years have been filing various claims against each other in the United States and other countries over the design and function of their tablets and smartphones. Last year, a California jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages after deciding Samsung had violated the American company’s mobile patents. The amount was later reduced to $599 million.
Apple was not alone in opposing the ITC’s ban. Verizon Communications, Microsoft, Oracle and Intel publicly supported Apple.