Samsung fails to obtain Presidential veto from Obama for Apple/ITC import ban case

Samsung-Gavel

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.  Read more

US President Obama compares Healthcare.gov’s ‘glitches’ to an Apple product launch

During President Obama’s live remarks addressing the government shutdown and Obamacare site outages today, the U.S President compared the issues with healthcare.gov to an Apple product launch (via WashingtonPost):

Now, like every new law, every new product roll-out, there are going to be some glitches in the sign-up process along the way that we will fix. I’ve been saying this from the start. For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site’s been running more slowly than it normally will.

And we’re going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all of this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected. Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t. That’s not how we do things in America. We don’t actively root for failure. We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.

He is of course referring to the release of iOS 7.0.2 last week, which brought fixes for a lock screen passcode bypass flaw and other small issues.

Obama is a confirmed iPad user and is frequently seen carrying around the device so perhaps he’s speaking from some 1st hand experience… Read more

President Obama meets with Tim Cook, other execs over government surveillance

Tim-Cook-02-Senate-taxes

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and other technology company executives today to discuss government surveillance, according to a report from Politico. Earlier this week, according to the report, the President and his staff began holding confidential meetings about surveillance tactics and topics such as the recent NSA-related controversies with company executives and other members of pertinent organizations.

Those invited were mostly senior executives, including Cook, Stephenson and Cerf, as well as representatives of groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and Gigi Sohn, the leader of Public Knowledge, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. Each declined comment for this story.

The report names AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and former Google Vice President Vint Serf as the other technology community members involved in the meetings. Serf recently was appointed by President Obama to the National Science Board, and Serf is also known as a pioneer of the internet…

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Obama administration vetoes Apple iPhone 4, 3G iPad 2 U.S. import ban

President Obama and Vice President Biden with an iPhone

President Obama and Vice President Biden with an iPhone

United States President Barack Obama and his administration have issued a veto on a potential ban for iPhone 4 and 3G-capable iPad 2 models in the United States. The news comes by way of a notice from the U.S. Government. The official ruling comes from Michael Froman, a trade representative for the United States:

In addition, on January 8, 2013, the Department of Justice and United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an important Policy Statement entitled “Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments” (“Policy Statement”).2 The Policy Statement makes clear that standards, and particularly voluntary consensus standards set by standards developing organizations (“SDO”), have incorporated important technical advances that are fundamental to the interoperability of many of the products on which consumers have come to rely, including the types of devices that are the subject of the Commission’s determination. The Policy Statement expresses substantial concerns, which I strongly share, about the potential harms that can result from owners of standards­essential patents (“SEPs”) who have made a voluntary commitment to offer to license SEPs on terms that are fair, reasonable, and non­discriminatory (“FRAND”), gaining undue leverage and engaging in “patent hold­up”, i.e., asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of the standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen. At the same time, technology implementers also can cause potential harm by, for example, engaging in “reverse hold­up” (“hold­out”), e. g., by constructive refusal to negotiate a FRAND license with the SEP owner or refusal to pay what has been determined to be a FRAND royalty.

The would be, no-longer affected Apple devices include the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 3G, and the original 3G-capable iPad. This ruling mostly affects the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 as those are the pertinent products that Apple actually currently sells in the U.S. The President’s block of the ITC ban is the first block of this kind since the 1987 Reagan administration.

Newer iPhone and iPad models, such as the iPhone 5 and 3rd/4th generation iPad, are not affected because they use a different cellular chipset design.

Both Apple and Samsung have both responded to the news. 

You can read the full letter from the government below:

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Obama administration plans to curb patent trolling with 5 step plan

obama-607

The WSJ reports that after years of worsening patent legislation in the US, the Obama administration has finally decided to try to do something about it.

The president has taken a dim view of certain patent-holding firms. In February, he said some firms “don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea to see if they can extort some money out of them.”

Apple, depending on who you ask, is sometimes the agressor in patent cases but is often the victim of  frivolous lawsuits that often earn these patent holding companies millions and millions of dollars. These companies aren’t really companies at all; instead they are just shell companies built around a patent or a portfolio of patents, which are often overly broad or were never intended to be used in a particular way.

These lawsuits often take place in courts in Eastern Texas, where judges are notoriously friendly to trolling interests.

Some examples of companies who’ve questionably sued Apple or its interests: VirnetXPersonal Audio LLC, Lodsys, Motorola? etc.

The administration’s plans in 5 steps:

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All of your Election Day apps right here…

9to5Mac scoured Apple’s App Store and the Web for the most talked about, best-rated or just plain interesting apps related to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, the candidates and their respective campaigns, and general news coverage for election night. Check out the roundup below; we will continually update throughout the day.

Oh, and check out the newly published YouTube video above of a voting machine supposedly “altering votes” earlier this morning. Eeek. 

Campaign apps

1. Obama for America by the Democratic Party for iOS | Free
More details on this official campaign app are available in 9to5Mac’s original coverage of its launch.

2. Romney-Ryan for iOS | Free
The official campaign app aggregates the latest news and updates, offers folks a chance to donate, and it provides exclusive campaign information with sharing options friends and family.

Election apps

1. Super PAC App for iOS | Free
Discover more about the presidential election ads on TV. The app identifies commercials from all political groups, including Super PACs, and the official campaigns.

2. 2012 Map: The Presidential Election App for iOS | $1.99
User can create, save, and share 2012 presidential election scenarios with this app that includes “Live” maps updated daily with the newest polling data and “Historical” maps that detail every election from 1789 through 2008.

3. Election 2012 Issues: Obama vs Romney in Their Own Words for iPhone | Free
Answer arguments about candidate’s views with videos of them using their own words. This app is non-partisan and details both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s position.

4. Election Results 2012 for iOS | 99 cents
Real-time election results for GOP primaries, Senate, Governor, House races, and the Presidential elections in November 2012.

5. VoterHub by AT&T for iPhone | Free
This is a “non-partisan clearinghouse for information on the 2012 election season, and future elections, in all 50 states,” with options for checking voter registration status, registering to vote, finding local polling place, getting detailed information on each candidate, and aggregating the latest election news from The Associated Press, etc.

6. Campaign 2012 – Obama vs Romney US Presidential Election News for iOS | Free
A source of up-to-date information about the 2012 U.S. presidential election with continually updated news, opinions, and analysis from many news sources. No subscription fees, either.

7. Electoral Vote Polls for iOS | Free
Electoral-Vote.com tracks the poll numbers for upcoming Senate, House, and Presidential elections. The site is popular, but now folks can now stay informed on the latest poll numbers on an iOS device.

8. 270toWin for iOS | 99 cents
According to the app’s description on the App Store: “It takes 270 electoral votes to win the White House. Make your predictions by starting with one of our many library maps. With one touch you are on your way to deciding which states will go to the Republican party, which ones will go to the Democratic party and which ones are leaning, likely or undecided.”  Maps will update on Nov. 6 as states are called.

9. Presidential Election Race 2012 for iPhone | 99 cents
Follow the electoral vote scoreboard and state-by-state poll results, and monitor the swing states with alerts for new polls with the latest election news, a map of how each state is trending, the number of electoral votes for each state, and the history of each state’s voting record since 1940.

10.  Settle It! PolitiFact’s Argument Ender by TIMES Publishing for iOS | Free
Resolve political disputes with this app that checks facts in campaign ads and tests users’ knowledge. Folks can also find fact-checks by searching name, keywords and subject, browse Truth-O-Meter ratings by person and subject, and share their findings by email, Facebook and Twitter.

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