Obama Administration Makes a Rare Move Defending Apple in a Longstanding Patent War Between Apple and Samsung
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Michael Froman, Ambassador for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, overturned the ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission earlier this summer which had granted Apple's rival Samsung an import ban on five Apple devices.
Froman's letter to ITC chairman Irving Williamson, delivered this weekend, says that it is his responsibility to protect any company from "gaining undue leverage" over a competitive market. "The Administration is committed to promoting innovation and economic progress, including through providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights," Froman says in the letter.
The Obama administration's move was a blow to Samsung.
"We are disappointed that the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)," said a Samsung spokesperson in an email. "The ITC's decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license."
On June 4, the ITC, the U.S. agency that serves as a watchdog on international trade, ruled in favor of Samsung's patent and limited the ability of Apple to sell some older smartphone products. The affected Apple products were the iPhone 4 AT&T model, the iPhone 3GS AT&T model, the iPhone 3 AT&T model, the iPad 3G AT&T model and the iPad 3G AT&T model, according to the statement from the Commission.
Froman at the U.S. Trade Commission had 60 days to review the decision from the ITC. Samsung still has the ability to defend its patent through the courts.
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