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Ban on Apple Products Overturned by Obama Administration

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A sales ban was looming after the ITC ruled against Apple in a patent infringement suit. The ban was to take effect tomorrow. The ruling was on hold pending a 60 day presidential review that technically was to expire today. Verizon's general counsel, Randal S. Milch, had an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal earlier in late July asking for the president to intervene in this case. Late yesterday the news from multiple sources came to light that President Barack Obama's administration stepped in to veto the ban of Apple's iPad and several iPhone models. Report Update Aug.05


CNN reports that "Ambassador Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, overturned a June decision of the U.S. International Trade Commission – which, according to its website, is an "independent, quasijudicial federal agency" that investigates trade issues - that certain Apple products designed for the AT&T network could not be imported to or sold in the United States."

 

An ITC judge ruled against Samsung on three patents, but the commission sided with Samsung on the fourth - leading to the ban announced in June. It would have affected models of the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3, as well as iPads and iPad 2s that were compatible with AT&T's network.

 

In a letter Saturday outlining the decision, Froman expressed "substantial concerns" about "patent hold-up," in which companies use a patent to gain "undue leverage" over use of technologies. He also noted that communications technology standards, including those covered by patents, "have come to play an increasingly important role in the U.S. economy."

 

Froman further stated that he had "reviewed ITC’s import ban and the various policy considerations of the ban. I have decided to disapprove of the USITC’s decision. This decision is based on my review of the various policy considerations discussed above as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers."

 

Froman noted that his decision does not stop the dispute between Apple and Samsung from continuing to play out in court. Last summer, Apple won a $1 billion lawsuit against Samsung over patent issues.

 

A Samsung spokesman said Saturday it was "disappointed" in Froman's decision. You could read more about that from the Korean Yonhap News Agency.

 

The Wall Street Journal reported that "The action marked the first time since 1987 that a presidential administration had vetoed an import ban ordered by the U.S. International Trade Commission."

 

An Apple spokeswoman said in a statement that "We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case" and added that "Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way."

 

Reuters added that "The Obama administration has been pressing for most infringements of standard essential patents to be punished by monetary fines instead of sales injunctions.

 

Froman on Saturday said the ITC should thoroughly examine the public interest ramifications of its rulings in disputes over standard essential patents.

 

The veto concludes one of the most dramatic ITC cases in years. Samsung, meanwhile, is scheduled to face a ruling by the ITC this Friday on whether some of its products infringe Apple patents and should be barred from import as a result.

 

One person familiar with ITC proceedings said it might choose to delay that decision in the wake of the Obama administration's move Saturday.

 

It should be noted that he Obama administration has also taken action against patent trolls. On June 4, 2013, President Obama also called on Congress to take several steps to make it more difficult for so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs) to collect money from alleged infringers of their patents. PAEs, often called patent trolls, are patent-owning companies whose main business model is demanding license fees instead of making products based on their patents.

 

Congress and the White House need to take steps to curb patent abuse by companies that "essentially leverage and hijack somebody else's idea and see if they can extort some money out of them," Obama said in a statement.

 

Lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are also pushing for bills targeting patent trolls.

 

During Senate hearings last month, Apple's CEO Tim Cook stated that "For us, our intellectual property is so important to our company. I would love to see the system strengthened to protect it." Recent moves by the Obama administration prove that the concerns echoed by Apple and other American tech companies are being taken very seriously.

 

Report Update August 05, 2013 – Korean Government Reaction:

 

Reuters reported on the Korean Government reaction to Saturday's ruling. "The move was vehemently criticized by the South Korean media as "protectionism." The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, said in a statement that they "express concerns about the negative impact that such a decision would have on the protection of patent rights."  The ministry called on the U.S. trade body and the Obama administration to make "fair and reasonable decisions" as Samsung faces a decision on Friday as to whether some of its phones and tablets infringed on Apple's patents and should be banned from imports into the United States."

 

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Comments

th3uglytruth

My bad! Sorry Marc!

Geo

He was actually replying to that statement

th3uglytruth

phuuuullleeezzzz! get off your high horse and don't let the door hit you on your way out!

While you are at it...stay out of anything Amercian; don't even bother coming to the US while you are at it!

Marc Driftmeyer

``

I will be boycotting Apple and American stocks. I called my broker today, we're winding down our positions in American-based companies.

This is the kind of heavy handed state intervention you expect in China or Russia.

Sorry, I thought I was investing in the US - a country that believes in the rule of law. I was mistaken. Enjoy your failure cascade.
''

Only an idiot would make such claims, but feel free to lose your butt investing outside of US Stocks. I won't lose any sleep.

Geo

Well, congratulations for not paying attention at which patent get Apple products banned.

For people that are incapable to read and understand:

* Samsung was asking 15$ per iPhone
* It is a standard technology and it can't be worked around
* Patent was thrown out and deemed invalid in all other countries that litigation took place
* That technology is in a chip that is made by a company that HAS a license for that patent from Samsung !!!
* It makes much less than a 0.1% of that component

Geo

Here is an explanation for you that think Samsung is right in this case.
http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/08/05/samsungs-vetoed-push-for-an-itc-ban-against-apple-inc-in-pictures

John Public

I will be boycotting Apple and American stocks. I called my broker today, we're winding down our positions in American-based companies.

This is the kind of heavy handed state intervention you expect in China or Russia.

Sorry, I thought I was investing in the US - a country that believes in the rule of law. I was mistaken. Enjoy your failure cascade.

James

Wow you're not very bright. Standard essential patents get chosen by a standards body and become necessary to create a class of product. Meaning, if you want to make a cell phone work on ATT, then you need to do certain things. Samsungs patent was chosen and thus they were obligated to license fair and reasonably. They are not supposed to get rich off SEPs. None of Apples patents they've used in lawsuits were standards, nor are they REQUIRED to make a product. They are either design or product differentiating. Apple has no obligation to contribute their design patents to a "common pool" nor should they, None of their design patents are necessary to create a cellphone. They're just necessary to make an iPhone clone, which Apple should fight to protect against.

Apple DOES own standard-essential patents, and they've never used them in lawsuits and they've certainly never tried to get a sales ban using any SEP.

Geo

Apple is not obligated to license their non-SEP on FRAND rate and Apple isn't suing anyone with SEP, unlike Samsung. Samsung asks >10$ per phone for a GSM/CDMA patents which CAN'T be be worked around. And >10$ per phone isn't FRAND. If you think it is, you are out of your mind.

sacke

FRAND is a way for companies to share patents among them in a so called Fair share ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRAND ). Apple didn't want to give ANY of their patents into the common well of patents, thus had to pay more, as ditated in the FRAND agreement.

So you yourself belong to the people you mention in your last sentence.

th3uglytruth

I know for certain that you are too lazy not only to seek the truth but also to comprehend the specific SEP patent in question.

If you wish to educate yourself instead of being ignorant...go look up Fosspatents.

Unless you educate yourself with the topic, you will always remain to be a willfully ignorant troll thinking Samedung isn't a corrupt chaebol.

Geo

You obviously have no idea what is it about. The patents that Apple was banned for was SEP (standard essential patents) that you simply can't work around. Samsung wanted 2.5% of iPhone revenue (about 15$ per phone) for those patents, that is much higher than they charged others. Do you see that as fair? And there are many SEP patents, if every SEP holder would start suing with that 2.5% demand then no phone maker will make money on their phones, which obviously will make it much worse for consumer as phone makers will limit phone's capability or make prices higher.

I see a more of an issue where Google (Motorola) says that their products that infringe on non-SEP can't be banned from US market because they are assembled in US (most of components are made in China).

I see many people like you that comment when they know almost nothing about the subject.

1234

Unbelievable favouritism from the US Government, ignoring the fact that Apple have broken the law and been sentenced by an impartial third party, and just showering protectionism all over the US company.

Next step - US citizens forced to only buy US products.

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