The Obama administration made news earlier this year when it decided to veto an import ban on certain Apple products that had been awarded to Samsung by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The situation was flip-flopped this week, with Samsung facing a U.S. ITC-imposed ban due to a judgment won by Apple back in August, but this time we're seeing a very different result play out.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has confirmed that the no veto of the ITC's ban has been issued, meaning that certain Samsung products are now banned from being imported into the country. "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 ban]," Froman told Bloomberg.
The two Apple-held patents that caused the ban relate to touchscreen and headphone jacks technologies. The Samsung products that are thought to be affected by the ban are mostly older models, such as the Galaxy S 4G, Fascinate and Captivate. Newer Samsung-made hardware feature workarounds that avoid using Apple's patented tech.
Samsung had been hoping to receive a presidential veto on the import ban like Apple got months ago. However, the ban that Apple was facing was the result of infringement related to standards-essential patents, which patent holders must license on fair and reasonable terms. That wasn't the case in Apple's victory over Samsung, as the Cupertino firm's patents cover specific product features. The good news for Samsung is that the import ban only affects old hardware and that it's already got a workaround in place on its newer products, and so most U.S. consumers likely won't notice any change as a result of today's decision.