Washington (CNN) - A ban on the sale of some Apple products - including iPhones and iPads - will not go into effect after President Barack Obama’s administration stepped in Saturday, a day before the prohibition was to go into effect.
Ambassador Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, overturned a June decision of the U.S. International Trade Commission – which, according to its website, is an “independent, quasijudicial federal agency” that investigates trade issues - that certain Apple products designed for the AT&T network could not be imported to or sold in the United States.
The Obama administration's 60-day window to address, and possibly reverse, that decision was to end Sunday.
The trade representative’s rare move stems from a patent dispute between the tech giants Apple and Samsung over patents on wireless communications.
An ITC judge ruled against Samsung on three patents, but the commission sided with Samsung on the fourth - leading to the ban announced in June.
It would have affected models of the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3, as well as iPads and iPad 2s, that were compatible with AT&T’s network.
In a letter Saturday outlining the decision, Froman expressed "substantial concerns" about "patent hold-up," in which companies use a patent to gain "undue leverage" over use of technologies. He also noted that communications technology standards, including those covered by patents, "have come to play an increasingly important role in the U.S. economy."
Froman noted that his decision does not stop the dispute between Apple and Samsung from continuing to play out in court. Last summer, Apple won a $1 billion lawsuit against Samsung over patent issues.
A Samsung spokesman said Saturday it was “disappointed” in Froman’s decision.
“The ITC’s decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license,” David Steel said in a statement.
Apple and the ITC did not immediately answer calls from CNN on Saturday for reaction to the U.S. Trade Representative’s decision.
– CNNMoney's Julianne Pepitone and CNN's Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report
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Obama has to help his fellow Good Democrats.
Samsung is just trying to get it's billion back from apple.
This is a joke. One finding against Apple vs 3 against Samsung, and the ban is overturned. So much for a free economy.
lol, and people thought GWB was corrupt.
Well, now we know that Apple is a bigger political contributor for dems than Samsung. Money is the king.
How much Apple paid Obama's administration for that?
They couldn't find a newer iphone stock photo? That ancient object is from 2007.......
Oh look, the executive branch wildly overstepping it's bound again. Odd that we've really only had two branches of government since Obama was sworn in.
So much for the agency's "independence".
It's OK for Apple to get a billion dollars from Samsung but it's not OK for Samsung to be compensated for its patents. What hypocrisy.
So obama doesn't have any respect for the law....what a surprise.
Finally, some fair game in the judicial-political arena between these two tech giants.
It's ok to break the law if it benefits a US company, right? Sad.
Samsung can still recover damages from Apple for the continuing infringement.
Proving once again that the Obama administration is no different that previous administrations when it comes to being corrupt by big business... #shameonpoliticians
Goes to show the US ignores international agencies' decisions when it does not further out interest. Otherwise, we toot our free trade horn and talk about our free market theories all while hiding the truth. It's not free trade we seek, we seek to monopolize markets.
Products that where banned because they where made in china and could have been made stateside? Good, I hope the liberals learn to read someday.
Apple stealing technology... again?
Apple must have made a really good "campaign contribution" to someone special to Obama.
I will never buy an Apple anymore . Poor grocers !
"substantial concerns" about "patent hold-up," in which companies use a patent to gain "undue leverage" over use of technologies
Apple's favorite tool for unfair market domination.
Gee, I wonder how big of a bribe.....er, I mean, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION.....that cost Apple??
Whenever there is an article about Apple, the comments are filled with crybabies who hate them. Of course, the "conservatives" like associating liberals and democrats with Apple for some odd reason. The last time I checked, several people on Fox "News" had iPads.
This absolutely needs to decided by the courts. I very seldom agree with the Obama administration on anything, but they are right on this one. A ban would have given Samsung an unfair advantage in the market place. Every American technology company is outsourcing their manufacturing to places like China and India. They only way that will ever end would be to place a high enough tariff on these companies to force them all to make it here if they are going to sell it here.