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Weeks After Apple Ruling Overturned, ITC Bans Samsung Import

Submitted by on August 11, 2013 – 1:17 pmOne Comment

This week, the International Trade Commission banned the import and sale of Samsung devices that they found violate patents held by chief rival Apple. The case is oddly similar to one where the ITC found in Samsung’s favor against Apple, but was recently overturned by the Obama administration in a rare move.

The patents reportedly deal with multitouch features and phone jack detection, but Samsung has said “all of [their] products will continue to be available in the United States,” suggesting they have already altered designs to avoid using the patents.

The Obama administration is now put in an awkward position, politically, technologically, and economically. The Apple decision was reversed on the concern that the ban would negatively affect competition and was not in the public interest. It was the first time in 26 years an administration has intervened in an ITC ruling. Denying Samsung a similar appeal could appear to be protectionist, or even favoritism for a frequent ally.

But experts are not rushing to say that the Obama administration will or should overturn the Samsung ruling. A large part of overturning the Apple decision was that the patents in question were deemed “standard and essential” to industry requirements, meaning Samsung is supposed to license them fairly to competitors. It is unclear if the Apple patents Samsung is accused of violating are similarly standard and essential.

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