When the Apple and Samsung legal wrangle first began, it was new and exciting for those watching from the outside. Keeping an eye on the situation and seeing how events unfolded turned into something of a technology based voyeuristic sport, but that was a long time ago. Although it hasn’t been publicized as much of late, the bitter legal battle is still continuing, with the latest twist seeing the ITC ruling in June that Apple were guilty of infringing on Samsung’s patents, with the potential punishment being a total ban on the sales of offending iOS devices in the United States.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) in the United States had previously considered all of the evidence presented before them by Samsung and Apple. In previous court based disagreements between the two mobile powerhouses, the court had the ability to find in favor of one or the other and then levy rather large fines against the losing company. This particular coming together has been somewhat different, with the International Trade Commission imposing a ban on a number of Apple’s older iOS devices, which include the iPhone 4, 3G, 3GS and the Wi-Fi + Cellular model of the iPad 2.
With the ruling of the ITC about to come into effect this week, President Barack Obama and his administration have issued official U.S Government correspondence on the subject. The notice essentially provides a full u-turn on the initial ITC ruling and wipes out what was a notch on Samsung’s victory card over their smartphone rivals. The final decision on the veto seems to have come from U.S Trade Representative Michael Froman who has claimed that patent holders could gain industry leverage over competitors that is classed as unfair.
Although the original ITC ban only applied to older Apple devices, the overruling of the decision will be a massive blow to Samsung. The government ordered veto is the first time since 1987 that an ITC ruling to ban products from sale to the public has been overruled. Although the South Korean company is still free to pursue the case through the court system process in the United States, Froman has stated that his review of the ruling and how he feels it relates to "competitive conditions in the United States economy and the effect on U.S. consumers" was enough to apply the veto.
What will be interesting now is to see how Samsung will react to the government ruling. Whether or not the decision will be accepted without further action, or if they will exercise their right to pursue further action through the U.S. courts system.
Apple has commented on the matter, and the following statement has been issued by the fruit company’s spokeswoman:
“We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.”
Samsung didn’t take the issue lightly either, and responded by saying:
“We are disappointed that the U.S. Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC’s decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license.”
The full letter regarding the veto is as follows: