On August 3, President Obama’s administration did the unexpected. A Samsung legal victory was destroyed by the administration’s vetoing of a US International Trade Commission ban on the import and sale of a number of Apple’s iPhones and iPads.
The veto by US Trade Representative Michael Froman was the first of its kind by a presidential administration since 1987, and was founded upon concerns that there was “undue leverage” being gained by the owners of patents.
The decision was also based upon the view that in the absence of this veto, there would be potential harm to US consumers as well as to competitive conditions in the US economy. Froman has indicated that his decision was reached only after extensive consultation with US governmental trade bodies and agencies.
In the view of Samsung and others, the administration’s veto will have the effect of upsetting decades of settled expectations on the part of patent holders seeking to stop the importation of infringing products.
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