Obama Administration Vetoes Apple Product Ban

Michael Froman, US Trade Representative, on behalf of the Obama administration, has decided to appeal a presidential veto of the recent ITC ruling against Apple that would have resulted in the suspension of iPhone 4 sales.

The ruling, in which the ITC reversed its own rulings on the Essential Patent Standards that were the subject of controversy for a sales order, was heavily criticized even by Apple’s competitors as finding that the ITC exceeded its limits.

President Obama vetoes ban on Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2

Obama Administration Vetoes Apple Product Ban
Obama Administration Vetoes Apple Product Ban

In the words of Ambassador Froman in a letter to Irving A. Williamson of the US International Trade Commission Chair:

The last-minute ruling is more than crucial to the sales of Apple’s iPhone 4, the only model that allegedly infringes a patent that was awarded to Samsung in September . The Koreans have communicated their disappointment in a statement in which they comment that “the ITC’s decision recognized that Samsung had negotiated in good faith and that the company did not want to acquire the license” .

As Florian Mueller, patent analyst, commented on the decision:

An Apple spokesman applauded the court’s ruling saying that the government was “defending innovation in this historic case” and added that “Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way” . The company also commented that the ITC’s decision could have caused long-term damage to competition and innovation .

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This is the first time an ITC decision has been vetoed by a presidential administration since 1987, when the Reagan administration overturned another ban, ironically also related to Samsung. In a further twist, even though Samsung sees this decision as a loss, the Korean manufacturer could benefit from the ambassador’s warning to the ITC .

As it turns out, as commented in Electronista, Samsung is fighting a company called InterDigital in a similar complaint also filed with the ITC, which if found in favor of the plaintiff would result in a ban on Samsung’s products. So with this decision the Koreans can be a little more reassured by that side. What do you think?

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