Upon the advice of Michael Froman, the United States trade representative and the president’s adviser on international trade issues, the Obama administration has vetoed a federal commission’s ban that would have forced Apple to stop selling some iPhones and iPads in the United States next week due to an infringement on a Samsung-held patent related to transmission of data over cellular networks.
This is the first time since 1987 an administration has vetoed an international Trade Commission ban.
(Mr. Froman) wrote in his decision issued on Saturday that it was based in part on the “effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.” . . . Mr. Froman said his decision did not mean that Samsung was “not entitled to a remedy. On the contrary, the patent owner may continue to pursue its rights through the courts.”
Susan Kohn Ross, an international trade lawyer for Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, said the administration’s veto announced on Saturday will effectively remove a major bargaining chip for Samsung that could have disrupted Apple’s manufacturing facilities for making iPhones and iPads.
As per the comments section on this report file on the NYTimes, one comment summarizes nicely:
Samsung copied Apple products and then tried to use patents in an illegal way to avoid the consequences: if they get away with this, they can force Apple to ignore the copying or else get products banned.
The Samsung patents at issue here are part of a wireless standard — you’re required to use their invention to connect to some networks. In order to be included in the standard, Samsung promised to license them in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. But for Apple, which used wireless chips from companies that had already paid the licensing fees, Samsung demanded enormous additional fees.
This exact issue has already been litigated in several courts around the world, and this practice has never been allowed. In fact, Samsung faces a potential fine of billions of dollars in Europe for doing this.
All of the other big technology companies support Apple in this matter, since allowing what Samsung has done would wreck the whole standards system.