President Obama vetoes Samsung ban on Apple, Inc. iPhones, iPads

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Acting on behalf of the Obama administration, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced it would veto the ban on older iPhone and iPad models ordered by International Trade Commission.


USTR


Michael Froman was sworn in as United States Trade Representative by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in June. | Source: USTR


According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the decision to veto the ban was made out of concerns about standards essential patents (SEPs) being used to gain "undue leverage."

The ITC ruled to impose the ban in June, and, barring a veto, it was scheduled to take effect on Monday.

The ban, which affected some GSM-versions of older iPad 2 and iPhone 4 models, was based on a patent asserted by Samsung that is key to implementing compatibility with industry standard wireless networks.

Because the patent in question is "standard essential," Samsung had committed to licensing the patented technology under Fair, Reasonable and Nondiscriminatory "FRAND" rates. That made Samsung's attempt to leverage the patent to block Apple's sales via an ITC import ban highly controversial, and out of step with a series of recent legal rulings worldwide. Companies seek ITC bans because they are generally easier to win than sales injunctions granted in federal court.

Apple itself has won an import ban through the ITC, one blocking sales of HTC phones. However, that ban was based on patents that were not standards essential, meaning that HTC could have worked around Apple's patents without its products being rendered incompatible with prevailing industry standards.

The ban was opposed by both a group of U.S. Senators including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D.-Minn.), Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), and Sen. Jim Risch (R.-Idaho), as well as a consortium of companies including Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Verizon and AT&T, all of whom appealed to the administration to exercise a rare veto.

ITC was "out of step with basic antitrust rules"

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents noted that "this is the first veto of an ITC ruling in decades, and I believe the ITC's majority opinion was so out of step with basic antitrust rules (such as tying) and its effects would have been so very anticompetitive and anti-innovative that this veto was unfortunately necessary."

He added, "The issue here is not primarily what would have happened to those older iPhones and iPads -- I'm sure Apple could have handled the situation somehow. The problem is that this would have made the ITC the forum of choice for SEP abusers (strategic abusers who want to get away with infringement of non-SEPs as well as overly aggressive monetizers)."

Mueller also explained, "I'm sure that it wasn't an easy decision to veto the only significant win Samsung had scored against Apple in the earth-spanning patent dispute between the two companies, considering the special relationship between the U.S. and South Korea, but the USTR's letter makes very clear that this is not about taking sides with or against any particular company -- it's all about protecting the industry standard-setting system against the abusive pursuit of injunctive relief by certain players."

Samsung itself benefits from the message of the veto, because as Mueller pointed out, the company is currently "defending itself at the ITC against a SEP-based InterDigital complaint."

Obama administration scolds the ITC

Mueller stated that in granting Samsung an SEP import ban, the ITC had "acted in connection with this investigation like a government agency that is out of control." He directed attention to Froman's instructions to the ITC to proceed with caution in parallel cases involving FRAND-pledge SEPs.

The administration instructed the Commission to "examine thoroughly and carefully on its own initiative the public interest issues presented both at the outset of its proceeding and when determining whether a particular remedy is in the public interest" and to heed to "the standards-essential nature of the patent at issue."

Apple hailed the veto, stating "we applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case" and adding that Samsung was "wrong to abuse [the] patent system this way."

Froman said Samsung can continue to pursue its patent rights through the courts.

Update: additional detail on the patent behind Samsung's vetoed ITC sales ban.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 280
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Yay Obama! Words I thought I'd never say ;)
  • Reply 2 of 280
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member
    Obama Rocks!
    Now this makes the ITC look like a pile of shit.
    Booo ITC!
  • Reply 3 of 280
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Don't think of it as "saving the iPhone 4." Think of it as a clear message to anyone who would try to abuse FRAND-encumbered patents ever again.
  • Reply 4 of 280
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member
    Yeah Google would be thinking now "why why did we buy Motorola"!
  • Reply 5 of 280
    stevelstevel Posts: 11member
    what a shameful act of injustice. If you can't beat them with innovation in the market place, and if you can't beat them with litigation in the courtroom, then go running to your President for the hope you paid him enough to do the deed. What about the price fixing Apple? You think Obama will help you out with that as well? Pathetic. Guaranteed to have some backlash with markets outside of the US.
  • Reply 6 of 280
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    stevel wrote: »
    what a shameful act of injustice. If you can't beat them with innovation in the market place, and if you can't beat them with litigation in the courtroom, then go running to your President for the hope you paid him enough to do the deed. What about the price fixing Apple? You think Obama will help you out with that as well? Pathetic. Guaranteed to have some backlash with markets outside of the US.

    Not as shameful as your comment. Sounds like you don't understand the issue. Perhaps if you didn't you wouldn't be trolling so hard
  • Reply 7 of 280
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,283member
    Stevel, riddle me this: Are you truly unaware of the implications of SEP and FRAND, or does the law even matter to you at all? It sounds like you just want bad things to happen to Apple, even when they are unjust. Please tell me I'm wrong.
  • Reply 8 of 280


    Good. Ban Samsung, period.

  • Reply 9 of 280
    rissriss Posts: 40member
    @ stevel - so you're another Samesung troll we can add to 'The Troll list' on AI forums, well done!

  • Reply 10 of 280
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stevel View Post



    what a shameful act of injustice. If you can't beat them with innovation in the market place, and if you can't beat them with litigation in the courtroom, then go running to your President for the hope you paid him enough to do the deed. What about the price fixing Apple? You think Obama will help you out with that as well? Pathetic. Guaranteed to have some backlash with markets outside of the US.


    And how much did Samsung pay you? 2 posts, new account. Very fishy.

  • Reply 11 of 280
    ronnronn Posts: 326member


    Finally, some sanity. Although Froman should have acted sooner to send a very clear message to those using FRAND-pledged patents for anti-competitive purposes.

  • Reply 12 of 280
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,255member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Mueller stated that in granting Samsung an SEP import ban, the ITC had "acted in connection with this investigation like a government agency that is out of control." 


     


    Sounds like the DOJ in the eBook case.  

  • Reply 13 of 280
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,969member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stevel View Post



    what a shameful act of injustice. If you can't beat them with innovation in the market place, and if you can't beat them with litigation in the courtroom, then go running to your President for the hope you paid him enough to do the deed. What about the price fixing Apple? You think Obama will help you out with that as well? Pathetic. Guaranteed to have some backlash with markets outside of the US.


     


    And yet another sock puppet signs up. Hey Stevel, get thee over to C|net where you can run around in circles of rage with the other iHaters, hair on fire, flailing arms and shrieks of outrage. Really funny scene over there.

  • Reply 14 of 280
    rptrpt Posts: 173member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stevel View Post



    what a shameful act of injustice. If you can't beat them with innovation in the market place, and if you can't beat them with litigation in the courtroom, then go running to your President for the hope you paid him enough to do the deed. What about the price fixing Apple? You think Obama will help you out with that as well? Pathetic. Guaranteed to have some backlash with markets outside of the US.


     


    ITC is not courtroom, its is a regulatory body which is overseen by law by another regulatory body which has now vetoed it.


     


    Cant understand how I can be so stupid as to try to talk sense to someone who appears to be totally ignorant of basic legal principles, or just plainly trolling, probably both!

  • Reply 15 of 280
    rptrpt Posts: 173member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post


    And how much did Samsung pay you? 2 posts, new account. Very fishy.



    Quite agree; only posted this to increase my post numbers, but I didn't join last month!

  • Reply 16 of 280
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,119member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Stevel View Post



    what a shameful act of injustice. If you can't beat them with innovation in the market place, and if you can't beat them with litigation in the courtroom, then go running to your President for the hope you paid him enough to do the deed. What about the price fixing Apple? You think Obama will help you out with that as well? Pathetic. Guaranteed to have some backlash with markets outside of the US.


     


    I wonder what your response would have been if it was Samsung products that were getting banned, at the request of Apple. I'm sure you would have been all for the ban, as you are now, right? Wrong. What a hypocritical, transparent troll you are. Also, the only reason Apple is being dragged through the mud by the US gvt (ie. ridiculous ebook case) is that they DON'T pay off the gvt enough. Apple has a much smaller lobbying footprint than any of its competitors. But I'm sure you also don't care about little facts like that. Not to mention you don't seem to have a clue what the ITC is and how it functions, preferring instead to spew verbal diarrhea without an ounce of knowledge. I don't understand why people like you can't just enjoy using whatever products by whatever companies you like, instead of signing up on message boards focused on companies/products you hate in order to obsessively post attacks. I'd feel like an incredibly pathetic individual if I ever did that. 

  • Reply 17 of 280
    About time American government stood up for American companies. Now going to donate to Obama's Demorcratic pro business party! Hillary 2016.
  • Reply 18 of 280
    This is great news! A good call from Obama and justice for Apple.
  • Reply 19 of 280
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    About time American government stood up for American companies. Now going to donate to Obama's Demorcratic pro business party! Hillary 2016.
    Hillary will wipe the floor with whichever one of these Rethugs who thinks he's ready to take her on. They won't know what hit em. Looking forward to another Karl Rove meltdown on Fox News.
  • Reply 20 of 280
    Nice to see that this Administration is finally showing some testicular fortitude.
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