Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Obama Administration Vetoes Ban on Sale of Some Apple iPhones, iPads
Concern Cited Over Patent Holders Gaining ‘Undue Leverage’
The Obama administration on Saturday vetoed a U.S. trade body’s ban on the import and sale of some Apple Inc. iPhones and iPads, a rare move that upends a legal victory for smartphone rival Samsung Electronics Co.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman made the decision to veto the ban on the Apple devices, citing concerns about patent holders gaining “undue leverage” as well as potential harm to consumers and competitive conditions in the U.S. economy.
He said Samsung could continue to pursue its patent rights through the courts.
The action marked the first time since 1987 that a presidential administration had vetoed an import ban ordered by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The ITC in June had ordered the import ban and an accompanying cease-and-desist order affecting some older-model Apple iPhones and iPads after finding the products infringed a Samsung patent.
The ban raised concerns among U.S. antitrust enforcers and touched off intense lobbying of the Obama administration by technology companies with opposing positions on the issue.
Critics of the ITC order questioned whether companies should be able to block rival products in cases involving patents that have been deemed to be essential to creating products based on key technologies overseen by industry standard-setting groups. Read the rest of this entry »