President Obama’s trade representative on Saturday vetoed a ban on imports of some Apple iPads and older iPhones, dealing a setback to rival South Korean electronics company Samsung.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman overruled a June decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which had banned imports of the iPhone 4 and some variations of the iPad 2. The commission ruled the Chinese-made Apple devices violated a patent held by Samsung and couldn’t be imported. The ban never went into effect, though, because the Obama administration had 60 days to decide if it would uphold the commission.
The White House has recommended that Congress limit the ITC’s ability to impose import bans in these cases.
Froman wrote he shares the Obama administration’s concerns that the holders of standards-essential patents could get “undue leverage” over their competitors.