Obama overturns ITC ban on Apple products, upsets Samsung

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama has vetoed the International Trade Commission’s ban on certain Apple products that are the subject of a patent infringement suit by rival smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co.

The veto issued Saturday through U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who told commission head Irving Williamson that he is disapproving the June ban on the importation from China and sale in the U.S. of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G.

The commission imposed the ban as it investigated Samsung’s 2011 complaint that Apple infringe on its patent for wireless communication devices.

Froman cited the Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) license standard as basis for the veto. The FRAND is meant to prevent patent owners from abusing its right and denying market access to latecomers.

However, Froman noted that the veto does not stop Apple and Samsung from continuing their dispute in court. The District Court for the Northern District of California ruled last year that Samsung violated several Apple patents for mobile devices and ordered it to pay $1.05 billion in damages.

Samsung said it regrets the veto as the ITC already found that Apple violated the firm’s copyrights and failed to negotiate on the patent use.

The veto came a day before Obama’s 60-day window to disapprove the ITC ban ended on Sunday. It also came a week before the ITC, an independent agency under the Department of Commerce, will announce its decision on Apple’s patent infringement complaint against Samsung, specifically the latter’s mobile device Galaxy S2.

The ITC is not expected to apply the FRAND standard in the dispute as Apple also claims that Samsung infringed on its design of the mobile device.

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