October 8, 2013
The Obama administration has upheld a ban won by Apple in a patent-infringement dispute. This means that Samsung must stop importing some smartphone and tablet devices into the United States, according to Bloomberg. In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman notes, "After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow” the import ban to proceed. The International Trade Commission (ITCH) ban only covers a limited number of Samsung products. None of them are current. At issue are two Apple patents, which Samsung is said to have infringed upon. The patents cover a multitouch feature and a sensor for headphone jacks. Current Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S IV, have been redesigned and no longer include Apple's technology. As a result, they aren’t included in the ban. In his statement, Froman notes:
The order expressly states that these devices and any other Samsung electronic media devices incorporating the approved design-around technologies are not covered. Thus, I do not believe that concerns with regard to enforcement related to the scope of the order, in this case, provide a policy basis for disapproving it.Apple and Samsung continue to be embroiled in patent infringement cases around the world. Both sides have been able to claim some important victories. Neither, however, has been able to throw a knockout punch. This continued standoff suggests that a far reaching agreement between the two is still possible. In August, the White House vetoed an ITC ruling that would have banned legacy Apple products from the U.S. market. This was the first time since 1987 that a U.S. president had vetoed a product ban ordered by the U.S. agency. The Apple case against Samsung is In the Matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices, 337-796, and Samsung’s case is In the Matter of Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computers, 337-794, both U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).