U.S. President Barack Obama has intervened to ensure some Apple devices will not be banned from arriving on home soil, following an International Trade Commission ruling in favour of Samsung.
The ITC had recommended a U.S. import ban on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the 3G-capable iterations of the first-gen iPad and iPad 2 on the grounds that they violated a Samsung patent.
However, Obama's administration has vetoed (or "disapproved") the decision, winning California-based Apple a reprieve in its long running legal battle with Samsung over mobile devices.
The presidential order is significant because it is the first time the POTUS has intejected into a trade dispute since the 1987 Reagan administration. That occurrence also concerned tech companies, in a case filed by Texas Instruments, involving Sharp, NEC, Samsung and Toshiba.
The veto assures that Apple will be able to continue selling the accused devices, while newer, more relevant devices are unaffected due to newer chipsets that don't violate Samsung's IP.
The decision, which was actually made by the Obama administrations US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who cited concerns that patent holders could obtain "undue leverage" by pursuing cases in this way.
In a letter to ITC he wrote: "The Policy Statement expresses substantial concerns, which I strongly share, about the potential harms that can result from owners of standards essential patents ("SEPs") who have made a voluntary commitment to offer to license SEPs on terms that are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory ("FRAND"), gaining undue leverage and engaging in "patent holdup", i.e., asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of the standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen."
- Next: BlackBerrys are apparently on the outs with the US government Samsung and Apple are about to do battle for the Pentagon.