As expected, the Korean government expressed disappointment Wednesday with U.S. President Barack Obama's decision not to veto an import ban on some mobile products of Samsung Electronics. The Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry said in a press release that "It is regrettable that the U.S. government made different decisions related to patent infringement in a situation where Samsung and Apple are globally competing in the mobile telecommunications sector."
The ministry was referring to Obama's August decision to reverse a ban proposed by the U.S. International Trade Commission on some old models of the Apple iPhone and iPad found to have infringed Samsung patents.
Samsung Electronics made a similar response to the decision, hinting that it would file an appeal against the ruling at the U.S. circuit court of appeals. Samsung statement read that "It is regretful that the import ban was imposed on some Samsung products from being imported into the U.S., which could put a limit on choice for American consumers and restrict competition."
Some market observers expressed concerns over the U.S. government's "biased" decision, although it was made on the basis of patents. The U.S. government said August's decision was related to standard essential patents while the patents covered by Tuesday's decision were not. Standard essential patents relate to products that must conform to a particular technical standard.
A Seoul market expert who declined to be named stated that "The decision by the U.S. administration could trigger a rise of trade protectionism and further trade conflicts among nations."
In its previous move favoring Apple in August, the Obama government overturned an ITC ruling against the Silicon Valley firm that would have banned the sale of certain iPads and iPhones in the U.S. market. It was the first time since 1987 a U.S. president had vetoed an import ban ordered by the ITC.
Samsung has accused the Obama administration of adopting a "protectionist" policy.
At the end of the day, the Korean Government's reaction was fully expected. However, Samsung is just lucky that the U.S. doesn't ban more or their sales based on technology that they "slavishly" copied from Apple and others. Instead of paying Apple for infringing on their patents, Samsung has decided to drag out every appeal in order to pay Apple as little as possible over the longest period possible all the while continuing to rake in billions of dollars using Apple's ideas like pinch and zoom and other key smart device features to look like their Apple's equal.
At some point in time the U.S. government should get tougher with these international criminals hiding under the guise of just trying to be competitive. They're IP thieves plain and simple and not innovators. One of Samsung's top innovations is simply knowing how to steal IP for their own use and get away with it internationally. And the few innovations that they actually possess in the form of wireless technology they hold Apple ransom with unfair practices. At least the EU has the guts to make the call to punish Samsung.
In early September, European Union regulators informed Samsung that they had to offer more concessions to settle EU charges that its use of patent lawsuits against rival Apple breached antitrust rules after a first offer fell short. If Samsung fails to allay the European Commission's concerns, it could face a fine of as much as $18.3 billion or 10 percent of its 2012 revenues.
From government to government I understand the Korean's point of view and how it has to play out in the press. Yet to hear Samsung playing the victim in the press is truly the business joke of the decade.