United States President Barack Obama has vetoed ITC’s sales ban on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPad 2.
In June, the U.S. International Trade Commission had ruled that Apple infringed on Samsung’s patent, and banned the import of Apple’s iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPad 2.
Apple had argued that ban of its products wasn’t fair as Samsung was obliged to license its FRAND patents.
President Obama has now vetoed that ITC ruling, which means Apple won’t be banned from selling the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.
As WSJ points out, it is the first time since 1987 that a president has vetoed the sales ban of a product imposed by ITC. In a letter to ITC, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman cited concerns that patent holders were gaining undue leverage, and should pursue patent rights through courts.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter:
In addition, on January 8, 2013, the Department of Justice and United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an important Policy Statement entitled “Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments” (“Policy Statement”).2 The Policy Statement makes clear that standards, and particularly voluntary consensus standards set by standards developing organizations (“SDO”), have incorporated important technical advances that are fundamental to the interoperability of many of the products on which consumers have come to rely, including the types of devices that are the subject of the Commission’s determination. The Policy Statement expresses substantial concerns, which I strongly share, about the potential harms that can result from owners of standardsessential patents (“SEPs”) who have made a voluntary commitment to offer to license SEPs on terms that are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (“FRAND”), gaining undue leverage and engaging in “patent holdup”, i.e., asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of the standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen. At the same time, technology implementers also can cause potential harm by, for example, engaging in “reverse holdup” (“holdout”), e. g., by constructive refusal to negotiate a FRAND license with the SEP owner or refusal to pay what has been determined to be a FRAND royalty.
Apple has issued the following statement to AllThingsD:
We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.
You can read the letter from the government below: