US vetoes ban on Apple products

CNC report from New York
Added On August 5, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has overturned a U.S. trade panel's ban on the sale and import of certain Apple products in the country.

That reverses a ruling that has favored South Korean electronics company Samsung over Apple in their long-running patent battles.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced the move in a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Saturday.

He says in the letter that he has decided to "disapprove" the trade body's earlier ruling.

The commission in June banned the imports or sale of some Apple products as it ruled that the devices infringed a patent owned by Samsung.

The ban covers iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G sold by AT&T Inc.

The ban hasn't yet gone into effect.

Froman vetoed the ban and said quote:
"This decision is based on my review of the various policy considerations ... as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers."

Froman also says he has concerns about patent holders getting too much leverage over competitors that use their technology under licenses.

Companies license patented technology to competitors, so the devices can communicate as part of an industry standard.

Such patents are called "standard essential patents." 

The Obama administration has been pressing for most infringements of standard essential patents to be punished by monetary fines instead of sales injunctions.

Froman adds his decision doesn't mean the patent owner in this case is not entitled to a remedy. 

On the contrary, Samsung could continue to pursue its rights through the courts.

Apple welcomes the move while Samsung slams it.

Apple and Samsung have been waging a global patent war since 2010.