Obama administration overturns ban on some Apple products
August 3rd, 2013
04:52 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama administration overturns ban on some Apple products

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.

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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

Filed under: Technology
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Here we go... Most people don't even understand the machinations behind this issue, but they will attack because it has Obama's name attached to it. Stupid white trash Republicans, you are being lead by the nose by the wealthy and you are happy fools!

    August 3, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Thomas

    I thought he was a Blackberry guy ?

    August 3, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Maron Duchamps

    While I understand protectionism, this is a very dangerous form of it. The US is usually adamant about protecting IP- in this case the US ITC- the very home turf of US IP law- ruled in favor of a foreign multi-national. This may signal to other countries that the US does not care about foreign IP and is only interested in protecting its own IP law.

    August 3, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. king

    these repubs lies know no bound. lesson folks, we have 85 percent of American workers already has healthcare which they still would have it they want it, obamacare is mostly for the 15 percent of Americans that doesn't have any. the government is setting up a system that folks will sign up for and put in a pot, companies will fight like hell to get a part of this pot where millions will be in. this will draw down healthcare premiums because companies will be bidding for the lowest bid to get a piece of the pie. this is what the repubs dread, because the government will be giving subsidies to folks that cannot afford healthcare, so that means companies will be jumping over each other like wolves to get that government money, shouting we can give lower healthcare premiums than those guys. the repubs will be left out in the cold because they know this will bring down the cost of healthcare, and they will be seen as the lyers they are, so they are doing everything in their power to kill it now before this hit the American people.

    August 3, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. ironore068

    Even the Courts have no power anymore. lol

    August 3, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. Yonas

    dont get between me and my iphone ... bro

    August 3, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  7. Scott

    Corporations have no morals. The government needs to regulate them because they will act according to the lowest common denominator and then pretend that they are great contributors to society. Technology patents these days are abused in order to establish monopolistic marketplace behavior.

    August 3, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Geez, Obama and the NSA are working with Apple, Google, Facebook and more to track users and their data. Is this really a surprise to anyone? How many times does a president get involved in patent cases?

    Total smokescreen.

    August 3, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |

    Cotton wool wrapped around Apple?Are we slipping into communism and trade protection?Will Obama remove court rulings against Samsung for parity?My country is dying.

    August 4, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  10. gwiz

    apple used to be made here if that was the case maybe they wouldnt have this problem

    August 4, 2013 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  11. O B

    Obama with Prism. Obama with xkeyscore. He is worse than any republican presidents. Obama is so disappointing.... Now this..... Obama, you are not above the law.

    August 4, 2013 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  12. Richard

    There used to be a time when cars looked different. Now, becay=use of technology everything starts to look the same...

    August 4, 2013 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  13. Richard

    There used to be a time when cars looked different. Now, because of the use use of technology everything starts to look the same... I-pads, TV's, cell phones... you see one you have seen them all.

    August 4, 2013 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  14. goat

    Where was Mr. Obama when Samsung had products banned? He must not own one. I wonder how much Apple pays politicians to get them so damn loyal.

    August 4, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  15. O.C.

    Is Obama gone overturn the 1 billion dollar fine Samsung got too? Overturning one but not the other doesn't look like justice being done to me!

    August 4, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  16. Obama

    Hey thanks from your help in the NSA Prism program. I know this one will cheer you guys up there at the Rotten Apple. It is strange how foreigners always accuse you for stealing no matter if it is the Apple Records of Beatles or Samsung. Well on Samsung I must say ITC must have had a weak moment and put my NSA boys on it and adviced them to read the private emails of the ITC judge so the next case will not be so tough for you guys.


    August 4, 2013 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  17. g

    like every thing else made in communist china ,the manufacturing giants of the world

    August 4, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  18. jonbme

    How about we fix our broken patent system? Also, I guess it is cheaper for Apple to contribute to campaign funds than to license the patent from Samsung.

    August 4, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  19. BostonBob

    So much for the rule of law. I am sure Samsung is rather upset that they didn't give as much as Apple to the presidents last election campaign.

    We are acting more and more like a banana republic with those who pay off the right people getting the spoils.

    August 4, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  20. dash

    Apple got a taste of its own patent war. Wish it was down to products technology only instead of these patent issues. Apple is becoming microsoft by day.

    August 4, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  21. Reasonous

    You mean that one arm of Obama's federal machine got told "no" by the other? Discombobulation, anyone?

    August 4, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  22. bman

    Oh great, We expect the world to respect our patenets, but we don't respect theirs. What a brilliant idea, lets see how this plays out.

    August 4, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  23. Garry

    Back there one of my great grandfathers invented the wheel, the wheel was used to truck the parts to the Apple factory, where is my Royalty? we stand on the sholders of hundreds of thousands if not millions of contributors through thousands of years to build this technology, and you think you have the moral rights to own it? Patents are the downfall of mankind not the protector.
    For that reason don't buy Apple, dont feed the beast, use opensource, let's build a brilliant future together.

    August 4, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  24. snowdogg


    August 4, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Thank you Mr. President

    August 4, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
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