Emerging Technology

Obama administration vetoes Samsung patent infringement win against Apple

Andrew Sadauskas /

The Obama administration has intervened to veto on selected Apple products being imported into the US, after the United States International Trade Commission found the tech giant infringed on a patent owned by rival Samsung.

The iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G were found by the USITC to infringe on a key Samsung patent, which is essential to transmitting data over 3G mobile networks.

The devices were to be banned from being imported into the US under section 337 of the Tariff Act, with Apple being issued with a cease and desist letter preventing the tech giant from selling the devices in the US.

However, in a move that’s been described as an example of “cronyism” by one Korean tech press editorial, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman intervened to veto the sales motion.

According to a statement on USITC website, Froman said the veto was a result of the fact Samsung had previously voluntarily offered to licence its patent on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) in exchange for it being included as part of the 3G standard.

Under such a commitment, while Samsung can seek a reasonable financial compensation for its patent through the courts, it is also obligated to licence the patent to Apple under FRAND terms.

“I have decided to disapprove the USITC’s determination to issue and exclusion order and cease and desist order in this investigation. This decision is based on my review of the various policy considerations discussed above as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the US economy,” Froman said.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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