Obama administration steps in over Apple Samsung patent row, vetoes iPhone, iPad import ban

The Obama Administration in the US has vetoed a ban on the import and sale of several Apple smartphones and tablets in the country. Samsung won a patent battle with its American rival in June, wheb the International Trade Commission in the States decided to levy a ban on some iPhones and iPads because they were deemed to have infringed a patent owned by the Korean manufacturer.

That ban has now been overturned by the presidential office, claiming that to allow it to stand would give Samsung "undue leverage" as well as potentially harm competitive conditions in the US. It was seen as an inappropriate measure by the ITC as it was argued that Samsung had made a commitment to fairly license the patents in question - concerning wireless technologies in the offending gadgets' cellular chipsets - because they were "standard essential" technologies.

Samsung claimed that it did offer to license the patents to Apple, but it refused to pay for them.

The veto, enforced by US Trade Representative Michael Froman, is not open to appeal, but does not restrict Samsung from taking its patent cases to court in the future in order to seek resolution and recompense.

"The patent holder may continue to pursue its rights through the courts," said Froman.

Apple was naturally pleased with the intervention. "We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case," it said in a statement. "Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way."

Samsung, for obvious reasons, disagrees. "We are disappointed that the US Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the US International Trade Commission," it said. "The ITC’s decision correctly recognised that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a licence." 



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