Apple vs Samsung patent dispute rumbles on as Samsung appeal ITC ruling

Presidential veto this Saturday stopped a proposed ban on iPhone imports to the US
  • @jjvincent

Samsung have appealed against US trade decisions regarding the company’s patent challenges against Apple.

 A ruling in June by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) banned imports of the iPhone 4 and some variants of the iPad 2 because the devices violated patents held by Samsung. However, President Barack Obama vetoed the ruling this Saturday before the ban could be enforced.

The Obama administration announced the decision through a letter from US trade representative Michael Froman to the ITC and cited Froman’s concern regarding “the effect on competitive conditions in the US economy and the effect on US consumers".

However, Froman’s letter indicates that this was not the end to the dispute, writing:  "My decision to disapprove this determination does not mean that the patent owner in this case is not entitled to a remedy. On the contrary, the patent owner may continue to pursue its rights through the courts."

Samsung had in fact already filed an appeal before the President’s veto was announced, as the ITC’s ruling only upheld one of the four patent violations that the North Korean company accused Apple of violating.

One of the ITC’s commissioners, Dean Pinkert, argued that Samsung’s complaints were unfounded as the patents in question were international standards – technology that is so important that patent holders are required by law to licence it to manufacturers.

Apple refused to pay Samsung’s licence fees, arguing that they were extortionately priced. Pinkert agreed, stating that Samsung had been unable to show that their fees "satisfied an objective standard of reasonableness."

A related ruling is expected from the ITC this Friday, the result of a near identical lawsuit filed by Apple against Samsung, accusing the latter of infringing on a number of patents – including rounded corners on smartphones.