U.S. ITC rules for Samsung, bans Apple iPhone 4 imports into U.S.

“A U.S. trade agency on Tuesday issued a ban on imports of Apple’s iPhone 4 and a variant of the iPad 2 after finding the devices violate a patent held by South Korean rival Samsung Electronics,” Peter Svensson reports for The Associated Press. “Because the devices are assembled in China, the import would end Apple’s ability to sell them in the U.S.”

“However, President Barack Obama has 60 days to invalidate Tuesday’s order from the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington,” Svensson reports. “Obama is against import bans on the basis of the type of patent at issue in the Samsung case. On Tuesday, the White House issued a recommendation to Congress that it limit the ITC’s ability to impose import bans in these cases.”

Svensson reports, “Apple Inc. said it was ‘disappointed’ with the ruling and will appeal… Apple Inc. said it was ‘disappointed’ with the ruling and will appeal. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple launched the iPad 2 in 2011. The ruling applies only to the version equipped with a cellular modem for AT&T’s network. The ruling also applies to older iPhones, though these are no longer sold by Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Apple will appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and said in a statement that there’s no impact (for the time being) on the availability of iPhones and iPads in the U.S. market,” Florian Müller reports for FOSS Patents.

“I can’t believe that the ITC has completely thrown out Apple’s FRAND defense (‘[t]he Commission has determined that Samsung’s FRAND declarations do not preclude [import bans]’), taking a position that is fundamentally inconsistent not only with how U.S. federal courts have recently adjudged SEP-based injunction requests but also with opinions expressed by antitrust regulators and, especially, U.S. lawmakers,” Müller writes. “With a view to this decision, four Senators and four Congressmen (from both sides of the aisle) reiterated concerns over SEP-based import bans. Last year the Senate and the House of Representatives held hearings on this issue, with bipartisan consensus that holders of SEPs should not be allowed to renege on their FRAND licensing pledges by seeking import bans from the ITC that federal courts would likely deny.”

Müller writes, “The White House earlier today proposed a package of patent reform measures, and the fifth legislative proposal on this list aims to raise the bar for ITC exclusion orders… Under these circumstances it is quite possible that the White House will veto the ITC’s decision, and the ITC could not have done more to show to Congress that its granting of injunctive relief is far too permissive and a threat to the U.S. tech sector, irreconcilable with the ITC’s original mission to protect domestic industry against unfair imports.”

“Depending on how quickly Congress will fix the problem that the ITC gives SEP abusers and patent trolls access to injunctive relief that they wouldn’t win in U.S. federal court, the impact of today’s decision on other cases may be limited,” Müller writes. “But if Congress doesn’t move quickly, other SEP abusers might be able to leverage today’s decision in settlement negotiations with implementers of industry standards.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Surprise, surprise, surprise!

(After reading this ruling, Gomer Pyle immediately sprang to mind.)

Obviously, something’s very broken here and it needs to be fixed ASAP.

70 Comments

  1. This is a direct result of Apple’s tax avoidance. When the government wants to get you, they’ll find a way. It is the same everywhere, Russia, China, Syria. US is no different.

  2. well, you can either gnash your teeth at the sheer weirdness of it all, or you can look on the bright side and figure this is the kind of news that will help contribute to driving the stock even lower – especially when next quarters results get posted – and view it as a buying opportunity.

    things are going to get worse before they get better – but they will get better, though i doubt we will ever again see the same sort of meteoric rise (and fall) like we did over the past few years. (yes, the law of big numbers does eventually assert itself)

    looks like the future will be one of comparatively modest – and hopefully sustained- gains and dividends…

    1. Doc – Are you off your meds again?
      There are so many arguments against this ban going forward!
      Can’t you read………you %#*+^&%$#.

      For all the young technologists on board tonight – Doctor Spare is a fine example of how illicit drugs can corrupt ones mind.

  3. I expect this ban will get thrown out on Apple’s appeal. It is simply inconceivable that a ban would be imposed when Samsung is demanding higher royalties from Apple than from other licensees for FRAND/SEP patents.

  4. Him. This is crazy. Not really what one expected. I’m sure Apple’s stock will take a nosedive tomorrow. The iPhone 4 is a big seller in the US. But I wonder how this will affect the iPhone 4S and 5. Apple is soon to release the iPhone 5S so the lineup will be 4S, 5 and 5S. That will be a nice work around for Apple. They will of course appeal this decision and if that is not successful they soon will do away with the iPhone 4 anyway so this decision might just be a moral victory for Goosung and nothing material in the longer term.

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