October 9, 2013
White House Approves Apple Ban On Samsung Devices
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The White House has allowed a ban of older Samsung products to stand which will block certain electronic media devices from entering the country.The International Trade Commission (ITC) placed a ban on certain Samsung devices which violate Apple patents pertaining to multi-touch input and detecting when a headphone jack is in use.
The Korean company hoped the White House would repeal the ban as they had done for Apple two months ago, but according to Bloomberg, Obama’s office has allowed the ban to stand. There isn’t an official list of which devices will be barred from entry into the United States, but newer devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 are not covered. Samsung won’t likely take a significant hit from this ban, though they have expressed concern that the ruling will expand to cover even more of their devices.
“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow the import ban," explained US Trade Representative Michael Froman, Obama’s designee in this case.
In August, President Obama’s office overturned a similar ITC ban on 3G enabled iPad 2s, and the iPhone 4S which operate on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Though the option is often available in these cases, this is the first time the President’s office has intervened in an ITC case since 1987.
The ban, which Obama overturned in August, involved Standard Essential Patents, or SEPs. At the time the President’s office said they overturned the ban because they believed companies should not be allowed to claim ownership on a patent which is crucial to the basic way a piece of technology works. This case is different, covering what the ITC and the White House agree are patents which specifically apply to Apple products. Newer products which have been released since this ban was handed down by the ITC have been reworked to avoid any violation of this patent. Even though the White House has allowed this ban to stand, the Korean company still has room to appeal the decision and allow these unnamed devices to be sold in the States.
“The order expressly states that these devices and any other Samsung electronic media devices incorporating the approved design-around technologies are not covered,” Froman told CNET, further explaining his decision on behalf of President Obama. “Thus, I do not believe that concerns with regard to enforcement related to the scope of the order, in this case, provide a policy basis for disapproving it.”
Samsung was understandably disappointed with the White House’s decision. “It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer,” a spokesperson said according to Bloomberg reporters Susan Decker and Brian Wingfield.
Despite this decision against a foreign company and the earlier decision in favor of California’s Apple, Froman said this decision was more about patent infringement and less about which countries the smartphone manufacturers are from.