With a U.S. import ban previously issued by the ITC set to lock out certain Samsung devices at midnight last night, Bloomberg reports that the company has failed to obtain a veto from President Barack Obama:
The Korean company had argued that the ban should be overturned on public policy grounds, especially since a similar order it won against Apple was vetoed by the administration in August. Samsung can now seek a delay in the ban from a U.S. appeals court that will consider the entire case on legal grounds.
“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 import ban to proceed, Obama’s designee, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, said in a statement today.
In August, the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and issued a sales ban on certain infringing Samsung devices in a long-running case that stemmed from a countersuit originally filed by Apple back in 2011. The news came shortly after the Obama administration’s decision to veto an ITC import ban on certain iPhone and iPad models that Samsung won in a separate case. Like Apple, Samsung was going to attempt to get a veto on the decision by the US President, the only person with the power to overturn ITC import bans.
Some note that the decision by Obama to issue a veto to Apple and not Samsung might be viewed as favoritism to U.S. companies, but there are several other issues at hand that make the two cases different. Most notably, Samsung’s ability to workaround the non-standard essential patents involved in the case, opposed to the SEP patents in the Apple case, could be grounds to not grant a veto to Samsung.
The original case covered the “Steve Jobs” patent that covers touch screen features and another that detects when a headset or other device is plugged into an iPhone, both features that Samsung will be able to workaround in order to avoid an import ban on most devices. Bloomberg notes that Samsung said “The volume of products actually affected by the commission’s orders is perhaps small,” but forcing Samsung to workaround the patents on newer devices is clearly a win for Apple.