Samsung Loses This Round: U.S. Trade Rep Vetoes ITC Import Ban On Some Apple Devices

Back in June, Samsung won an injunction against Apple, as the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that some Apple devices infringed on some Samsung patents. Specifically, the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G all carried the offending technologies, and it seemed that Samsung was poised to win a battle in the ongoing patent war with Apple.

The victory is not to be. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman vetoed the ban over concerns that it would give patent holders (i.e., Samsung) undue leverage and perhaps even harm consumers and hamstring competition in the market, reported the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. ITC
U.S. ITC building

It appears that the issue boiled down to a disagreement between Apple and Samsung wherein Apple says that Samsung agreed to license that particular technology as “standard essential”, or necessary in order to comply with industry standards, and Samsung says that Apple needed to pay royalties.

This sort of dispute isn’t often clear-cut, as it’s easy to argue that a given patent may or may not be standards essential. Thus, the original ban may have simply been a ploy by Samsung to deliver a blow to Apple, and the veto--which suggests that the issue return to the courts--blocked something unfair from happening.

What is clear is that the patent wars continue, and nobody wins.

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