Aug 03 AT 3:30 PM Nick Gray 62 Comments

Apple wins again – Obama vetoes ITC’s US import ban on iPhones and iPads


President Obama has vetoed the US import ban on Apple’s iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G models which was imposed by the ITC this past June. Apple’s products were found to be in violation of Samsung’s 7,706,348 patent which dictates a “method for encoding/decoding a transport format combination indicator (TFCI) in a CDMA mobile communication system.”

While this is not the first time the ITC has issued an import ban on a smartphone or tablet, it’s the first time the US President has stepped in to overrule the ITC in recent history. In the letter to Irving A. Williamson, Chairman of the ITC the author admits that the decision to veto the ban was made because its “effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.”

We could spin the story a thousand different ways, but we thought it would be best to leave that up to you in the comments. What’s your take on the Obama Administration’s decision to allow Apple to continue selling products in the US which the ITC found to be in clear violation of Samsung’s patent?

Via: Engadget

Source: United States Trade Representative

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • Ismael Rodriguez

    • R.S

      I don’t thinks there’s ever been a more appropriate time than now for this meme.

      Thanks Obama!

    • str0ng 4th

  • redraider133

    This essentially shows why even have patents and the ITC if anytime they run and cry to Obama he will overturn it.

    • Nick Gray

      Don’t worry, the ITC can still issue import bans on non-US companies like Samsung and HTC. The ITC even held up imports HTC phones last year after they had complied with the ITC ruling and changed their software.

  • mark barlog

    So are there any other consequences? If the proposed ban was the only punishment for their violations why enforce them at all? Come Obama…step in and end this patent game.

    • Aaron

      You really need to take a look at the US constitution some time. The president doesn’t have the power to change patent rules. This is not a patent issue but an ITC issue which happens to be about a patent.

  • Jay

    This is fine as long as it goes both ways and Mr Obama kicks out all stupid patent lawsuits that are going on between both companies.

  • clocinnorcal

    He stepped in because the injunctions are regarding FRAND or SEPs (standard essential patents), unlike the Apple Vs Samsung case which involved Apples design patents. Totally different ballgame.

    • KOBesucker

      Not surprising that you got down-voted. Fact of the matter is, Samsung is guilty of abusing its SEP’s. It wasn’t Obama that stepped in anyway, like the article fails to mention (among other things), it was U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Not to mention the many tech giants like Microsoft (that should tell you something), Oracle, Intel, AT&T, Verizon, and others who were against the ban because of the SEP’s involved. It shouldn’t surprise anyone by now how shady Samsung can be.

      I’m really hoping Motorola can succeed with the Moto X and be a ‘big hitter,’ need someone else dominating Android sales other than Samsung.

      • clocinnorcal

        Yeah, I really got blasted for that comment. Truth hurts :)

        • Raptor

          No, you’ve got busted because this site still keeps most of those dumb Neanderthals.from previous ownership
          Well, I gave both you +1.

      • Rob

        Actually all three of you are idiots. apple has been abusing the patent system on your country for years trying to fight Androids dominance (Motorolla has felt apple’s lawsuit knife once or twice).This was an attempt to teach a pathetic bully a lesson once and for all, give the bully (apple) a bloody enough nose and they will think twice about launching lawsuits.
        It’s not that truth hurts its that you three idiots cant see the truth.

        • clocinnorcal

          That is the dumbest comment ever made. Do you know what a FRAND is? Look it up before you start calling people idiots.

          I will agree that Apple abused the patent system; however, FRAND patents are industry standard and not the same as Apples design patents. PLEASE do some homework before you open your mouth.

          • redraider133

            The thing is apple tried to pay about nothing for the patents hence why no deal was made, yet apple wanted what like $30-40 per Samsung device. Yeah it’s different patents but why should apple get any special treatment when it comes to what they have to pay for patent use?

          • clocinnorcal

            @redraider1 Whether or not Apple refused to pay for these particular patents is debatable, but an import ban on such patents is ludicrous and should never be met with a ban by WHOEVER asks for such a request.

            FRAND patents are not the same as Apple’s design patents that they were asking “$30-40 per Samsung device.” It sounds crazy, but Apple has no limitation on how much they decide to charge for their design patents, like it or not.

            I think you are all getting confused at what I am saying judging by how badly I have been down voted. I simply think it is very anti-competitive/innovative to BAN devices for FRAND patents that are industry standard.

          • right….

            The thing is, if you have at all been following the FRAND issue between these two over on Groklaw, you would see that Samsung has tried to negotiate reasonable fee’s for their intellectual property. Apple just refuses to pay anything at all, and are pulling the FRAND card to say that Samsung isn’t offering the patent’s at a fair price. I’m not a Samsung fan in any sense, TouchWiz is an abomination. maybe you should get some additional background on the ENTIRE case instead of ranting about FRAND and SEP’s and how other’s are being ignorant.

  • Jamie B

    …If he had a phone, it would look like an iPhone….

    …That could have been his phone 35 years ago….

    • kazahani


    • Charles V.

      I was hoping I might find someone making a comment like this :D
      Thank you!

      • Jamie B

        haha, anytime ;)

  • kazahani

    I keep wondering if this is exactly why Google had Motorola build the Moto X in the USA. There’s no way for the ITC to ban imports on the device if Moto doesn’t have to import it! It side-steps a lot of their power if the phone sells well and Apple decides to sue.

    • pressure77

      Of course, the Moto X is only assembled in the USA-most, if not all the internal components are still manufactured overseas and imported. The ITC would only have to find trademark infringement in a single function on a chip (as happened with this case) for production to be effectively hindered.

  • julian


  • Scirca

    Told everyone it would be another four years of bs…
    Oh well
    Thanks ITC and Obama, you just proved patents are worth zilch and that Apple can get away with infringing on any patent they chose, while other companies may not ever DARE to infringe on any of Apple’s patents, because that would clearly be copying, even if it’s an incredible broad patent, it’s still copying, and Apple is the only original manufacturer, and everyone is just a copy of Apple. :(
    fuck off apple, fuck off

    • Edmond Granberry

      Amen to that!

  • jroblopes

    That’ll just about cover the corporate clout in America.

  • Pierre Marcotte

    Obama probably receive an iphone 6 as a proof that apple was honest in its cheating .

  • DroidSamurai

    As an American, looking from our macro-economic perspective, I have to painfully admit that it’s to the benefit of the American economy and protection of (an) American company(ies). BUT, Apple has done very little to help the American public over the years, at the very least, if the Obama administration gives such a big gift to Apple, they should try to get something back — may be forcing them to bringing more jobs back to the US, or stop shady practices to pay more taxes.

    As an Android user, there’s nothing to say other than “it sucks.”

    • Ridiculous


      Apple is just stocking a tremendous volume of money for themselves.
      They haven’t even distributed stock dividends to its share holders who deserve to have them. The factory is in China. 90% of the components of iPhone come from other countries.

      If you have a chance to see what Steve Jobs did to the publishing companies……….

    • M0nk

      Maybe just more lobby and campaign money for Obama/Democrats?
      Apple is as evil or worse than Samsung. Apple dodge every single tax that is barely legal to dodge and really hurts US more than other nations, where they sell most gadgets. Outside US Apple is rarely seen due to the high costs.

      Now all the companies will invest their R&D money on stupid design patents, shapes and colors and stop developing real innovations like display technologies, compression algorithms and wireless improvements…

      FRAND patents are still patents and Apple is not willing to pay the same that all the others vendors are paying compared to their revenues.

  • NoSoArrogant

    Payback for NSA compliance?

    • kazahani

      Tit for tat. That’s the way the system of cronyism works these days. How can we ever change it???

  • Chillguy33

    Obama should keep both hands up his rear, at all times.

    • kazahani

      Yep. The less they do, the happier I am. And the freer I stay.

  • mmmike

    Obama didnt veto it, this power has been delegated since forever now…so this article is misleading.

    • z0phi3l

      If you don’t think he was somehow involved, then you don’t understand politics at all, the dud was Obama’s secretary, he of all people have a direct line to Obama

    • kazahani

      So you’re saying that Obama doesn’t bear any responsibility as the President of the USA for the decisions that the people under him make? That’s bogus. As a manager in my workplace, I’m held to account if one of my people screws up, and so should he.

    • Nick Gray

      While the power has been delegated to someone else, the authority of the veto comes from the president’s office.

  • rivera618

    Who really cares…no one is buying the devices listed on this and if they are, the deserve to get stuck with those pieces of junk anyway.

    • Ridiculous

      Still at least 20% of the sales come from those old models, bro.
      Blame on your ignorance!

      • rivera618

        Don’t talk about % sales, talk about % profit and let’s see who the ignorant one is, BRO.
        Blame on your douchiness

        • redraider133

          He proved you wrong as clearly if 20% of sales are going to those models “someone” is buying them….

  • Yohanes Mario Chandra

    I’m really tired of this whole patent thing. Why can’t we all walk hand-in-hand towards innovation? Apple products and android phones can coexist happily without any conflict, it has been proven.

    Please, there are much better news to cover, not this kind of provocative bullshit. If the president vetoed it, so be it. This thing has to come to an end anyway.

  • PaulieG

    Disgraceful… So as long as the company is American they can breach patent law? Where was Obama when Samsung got sued 1 Billion? Pull your products from the US Samsung, HTC, LG and all other non US manufacturers.. Let them live with their Iphones..

    • kazahani

      The “Made in USA” kick that Google’s been on sounds pretty smart now, doesn’t it?

  • RoseJSutton


  • Ridiculous

    This ban is the result of the white-wannabe president focusing only on the interests of the company which gave a lot of money to the democratic party. lol.
    For the past 25 years, no president issued a veto on the ITC. You think you did the right thing. but Mr. Obama, you made a really good example to other countries such as China, Japan, etc. They also can issue vetos like you did. I like your attitude, “Patent? Fuc* that shi*!”

    • kazahani

      Yes, lets bring skin color into this. That sounds like a rational thing to do.

  • uansari1

    What do I think..? Simple and straightforward protectionism.

  • thel0nerang3r

    Many of you guys need to look up what “FRAND” is and how it applies to this case.

    • clocinnorcal

      Thank you. I got blasted for bringing that up in an earlier comment. Obama vetoing this injunction is GOOD for competition. If Samsung were able to ban devices for FRAND or SEPs imagine what that would mean for future injunctions against other devices from any company.

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the ruling in the Samsung vs Apple case was fair; however, that does not mean Samsung can abuse the patent system for some kind of revenge.

      • Nick Gray

        Samsung has stated for years that they have been trying to negotiate with Apple on these patents, but Apple has refused to pay up. While Samsung is allowed to demand “fair and reasonable” licensing fees for its FRAND patents, there needs to be an industry standard so that all companies can gain access to the needed patents at the same price.

        The system is clearly broken.

        If Apple can get by without having to license the FRAND patents without any sanctions against their infringing products what’s stopping every other company from doing the same thing? Personally, I believe the administration would not have issued a veto if the tables had been turned and it was Samsung infringing on FRAND patent help by Apple.

        • clocinnorcal

          I agree, but regardless of how we feel about Apple or Samsung if import bans start becoming the norm over FRAND/SEPs patents that would be extremely bad for innovation or competition.

          • clocinnorcal

            *innovation AND competition.

        • thel0nerang3r

          Nick, we would have to look at the entire case to know for sure. In the pas, many FRAND rates are set by the court, such as this one
          If Apple had given a court order to pay a particular rate and they refused, then yes… the ban would be justified. It doesn’t look this way Also, it was my understanding that the trial was Samsung saying that Apple was using some patents. That was the “negotiation” you mention. I don’t know if Apple was acting in good faith when they were denying using the patents… lawyer talk is baffling… so who knows. Now that they were found using Samsung patents, Apple will have to pay royalties to Samsung.

  • donger

    Woot woot.

  • Puck69

    I’m so disappointed and sad

  • w9jds

    Such Bullshit! Just because he’s a fanboy he has to step in abuse his power… Watch next he is going to somehow jump in and try to turn over the DOJs statement against them.

  • Dr.Carpy

    Thanks for this poorly worded opinion piece Nick! What president would let a ban on US based Apple stand? Can you name one? If you don’t like your current president…GREAT! You think that anyone in the world would allow for no Apple products to be sold in their country? The Outcome who have been the same under Bush. It’s sad really. The Republicans and Democrats are the same. Neither care what the public has to say. Both groups gin up racism in order to get people to vote against their own interests. Save the political nonsense for the Huffington Post or Fox News. I’m here to read about Android. What you’ve done here seems extremely fraudulent, and I’m disappointed. Look at my history here, I never have anything negative to say. When I see foolishness like this, I have to say something. Apple has refused to pay up in other countries, so why is this a revelation to you or anyone else here?

  • donger

    Obama cares.

  • Jamie Smith

    As always things aren’t as simple as it seems ->

    Looks like Samsung was trying to extort Apple for their design patents and the ITC was trying to force Obama’s administration to make changes to the patent system.