The United States International Trade Commission thinks there should be no ban on imports of HTC and Nokia phones over Apple’s patent infringement claims. This is the official position of the ITC staff members who represent the public as a third party in the case, even though “its recommendations aren’t binding,” reports Bloomberg:

A staff lawyer, Erin Joffre, disclosed the position at the start of an ITC trial in Washington today in which Apple is seeking to ban imports of mobile phones made by HTC that run Google Inc.’s Android operating system, as well as block some Nokia devices.

After administrative law Judge Carl Charneski discloses his decision regarding HTC on August 5 (for Nokia, June 24), the six-member commission will review and act upon it. They will either ban imports of said phones – which is very unlikely – or dismiss Apple’s patent infringement claims. I don’t know about you, but this oxymoron puzzles me…

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This is a legal dispute between publicly-traded companies so why involve the “public”? And if the recommendation on behalf of the public isn’t binding, why disclose it anyway? Call me stupid, but can anyone explain to me how exactly the public benefits or stands to lose in this case?

I’m no lawyer and I’m sure there’s a perfectly suitable legal explanation for this, but it just seems dumb to introduce a third-party that has nothing to do with this case and have the ITC itself – the federal agency supposed to resolve trade disputes – issue a non-binding recommendation on behalf of the public… To itself…

Man, I wanna be a lawyer in my next life.

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