Surprise: Obama's New US Trade Rep Overturns ITC, Stops Ban On Apple Products

from the well-that's-interesting dept

For years, we’ve been watching how patent holders get two cracks at the proverbial (and, in this case, literal) Apple when it comes to patents. They can sue in court for patent infringement and — in an entirely separate process — they can go to the International Trade Commission, and argue their case as well. The regular courts and ITC judges use different criteria for judging the outcome, and also have different remedies (though with some overlap). The ITC can’t award monetary damages, but can issue an injunction, barring the importation of infringing products. Over the past few years, the ITC side of things has troubled a growing number of people, and even President Obama targeted some of the problems with the ITC patent review process in his big announcement on fixing the patent system.

Still, in a somewhat surprising move, Obama’s recently appointed US Trade Rep., Michael Froman, has stepped in to directly overturn an ITC injunction issued against Apple products — including iPhones and iPads, after the ITC sided with Samsung, saying that those devices violated Samsung’s patents. The decision by Froman is final — Samsung can’t appeal, and it means that those iPhones and iPads won’t get blocked at customs, as would likely have happened otherwise. You can read Froman’s letter about this, in which he delves into some detail about the administration’s worries about “patent hold up” — mainly on standards-essential patents (SEPs) that have so-called FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing commitments. As the letter notes:

After extensive consultations with the agencies of the Trade Policy Staff Committee and the Trade Policy Review Group, as well as other interested agencies and persons, I have decided to disapprove the USITC’s determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order in this investigation. This decision is based on my review of the various policy considerations discussed above as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.

I would like to underscore that in any future cases involving SEPS that are subject to voluntary FRAND commitments, the Commission should be certain to (1) to examine thoroughly and carefully on its own initiative the public interest issues presented both at the outset of its proceeding and when determining whether a particular remedy is in the public interest and (2) seek proactively to have the parties develop a comprehensive factual record related to these issues in the proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge and during the formal remedy phase of the investigation before the Commission, including information on the standards- essential nature of the patent at issue if contested by the patent holder and the presence or absence of patent hold-up or reverse hold-up. In addition, the Commission should make explicit findings on these issues to the maximum extent possible. I will look for these elements in any future decisions involving FRAND-encumbered SEPs that are presented for policy review. The Commission is well-positioned to consider these issues in its public interest determinations.

He also notes that Samsung can continue its fight in the courts.

This is still something of a surprising move — more or less having the administration step in and flat out overrule a patent infringement ruling for “public policy reasons.” Hopefully, this signals a bit of a change in understanding under the new USTR, such that there’s a real recognition that overaggressive intellectual property laws and enforcement can have a seriously negative impact. Of course, the more cynical among you might note that this is also the US government stepping in to protect the US company (Apple) against a foreign company (Samsung). An even more cynical group might further note that the Obama administration also probably didn’t want to deal with the headache of headlines about how the federal government had suddenly banned a bunch of iPhones and iPads… But, for the sake of being optimistic, let’s hope that this really is a sign of a more thoughtful USTR, which isn’t quite as wedded to intellectual property maximalism, as its predecessors have been.

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Companies: apple, samsung

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Comments on “Surprise: Obama's New US Trade Rep Overturns ITC, Stops Ban On Apple Products”

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tracker1 (profile) says:

Re: Does this mean the U.S. goes on the 301 report?

I’m just curious if this means that the U.S. will go on the next special 301 report… I mean, the U.S. government is actively acting against it’s trade interests. Bad U.S. Government… I think it’s important that we (the U.S.) enact trade sanctions against this anti-trade regime immediately.

Anonymous Coward says:

Am I in a parallel universe? I thought it was Samsung that had been banned by Apple. Apple had some ridiculous patent on “rectangles with rounded edges”, and some particularly gullible judge accepted that as an idea that made sense.

Was this some sort of counterattack by Samsung that got overturned, or am I currently in the Twilight Zone?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Apple wasn’t able to get an injunction against Samsung products as far as I’m aware. They were awarded 1 billion dollars by an insane jury ‘trying to send a message’ over ‘infringing’ Samsung products, however. The judge rather promptly pointed out that the math and the law didn’t add up to 1 billion dollars and ordered a new damages trial over around half of the initial award. Meanwhile the patent office has basically invalidated nearly every patent that Apple used against them and the claims that have survived have done so in a form that Samsung didn’t actually infringe but such is the insanity of patent cases.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But in the same sport…Samsung claimed Apple was refusing to pay for Samsung’s patent on 3G GSM antenna…and got the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 banned from sale.

Tell me which is worse..having a shoddy sales ban on one of your products over an antenna everyone else uses….or $1-billion settlement and no product ban.

Samsung did the lowest thing by getting a sales ban on Apple products over standard essential patents. At least they could afford to pay the $1-billion

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Samsung doesn’t claim Apple was refusing to pay. Apple refused to pay. That’s on record and undisputed. They didn’t like the rate they were offered, the same rate everyone was offered, so they used the tech without paying.

Samsung did the lowest thing? Fuck that noise. They took the only avenue available to them over a cut and dry legal issue and the judge decided that warranted an injunction. That’s shoddy? Again, fuck that noise especially when compared to the absolute bullshit patents Apple took Samsung to court and won a fortune off of when a misguided idiot on the jury decided to lash out and disregard jury instructions. There’s no question which is worse. None. It’s not even close.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

I’m shocked and disappointed with Mike’s article. Siding with the Obama Administration and their arbitrary decision to ignore the ruling of the the courts and the ITC.

While I have no love for either company, with Apple patent trolling every company that sells products in the United States and resorting to a “sue happy” state where they target anyone and everyone who sues the “i” in their product name.

I seem to recall when Apple decided to send a cease and desist letter to a restaurant simply because they used an apple in the logo for their business.

It’s just disappointing that with Apple suing Samsung left and right that the U.S. Government is protecting Apple and ignoring the courts in the process. The Obama Administration is simply using its own authority to give our courts and the ITC the middle finger.

It’s disrespectful and just proves how corrupt our government has become.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I see your point and I kind of agree that it may be unfair considering how the ITC has been working so far. I’d go further and point that the overturned decision was against an American company. I wonder if this would have happened if Samsung was the one to have their products banned.

That said, the administration clearly stated that they can still pursue the judicial path. And the executive works in a different way than the judicial so yes the decision can be overturned like the way it was (and maybe that’s what opens a lot of room for abuse). I think you confused the judicial aspect with the executive one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I’d go further and point that the overturned decision was against an American company. I wonder if this would have happened if Samsung was the one to have their products banned.”

I kinda agree, what Obama did seems sorta suspicious. I would like to see Apple get punished for its patent abuse strategy. Live by the patent die by the patent.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I was at first a bit Skeptical and Cynical about the decision by the Obama Administration to interfere with the process but I did some other reading and found this great break down of the whole dispute

and honestly I think they actually did the right thing. It looks a lot like Samsung is double dipping and not following FRAND terms.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Yes but when is it ever ethical or amicable to mark up your BIOS contribution to someone else’s processor (namely Infineon’s GSM processor) by roughly %2,000 to %3,000.

Samsung only contributed ?78 per 180,000,000 chips made by Infineon, and demanded “negotiations” by demanding FRAND royalties on the estimated face value of the entire chip ($11.57) that they claimed cost $16.87 to make at a rate of 2.4% rather than their own contribution. Infineon was already paying the FRAND royalties in question when it was selling those chips to Apple…In other words, Apple was buying up some of the supply directly from Infineon….which means they owed absolutely nothing to Samsung.

Infineon was bought out by Intel and Apple used Qualcomm’s chip and BIOS for CDMA services.

Samsung has done this to HTC, and Ericsson so it’s not just Apple that’s gone through Samsung’s attempted double dipping.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Samsung’s value contribution to the GSM chip through its patent in the chips patented by Infineon amounted to roughly %0.0000000375 of the total value of the chip and demanded a rate of 2.4% royalty rate for the entire chip being used. How reasonable is it when they contributed so little to the chip and demand royalties way above the value of their contribution per device. It takes 180,000,000 devices for Samsung to make only ?78 on that many chips.

The issue is that it’s like a grocery store or a company like Minutemaide demanding a royalty fee for their products on someone’s lemonade stand earnings because they claim to have contributed to the majority cost values of the materials needed to make the stand run as a business.

On top of that, by the time Samsung was making its claims Against Apple to the ITC, Infineon’s patents concerning the chips had already been sold to Intel. They somehow convinced the ITC that the patens bought in full by Intel were deemed invalid since Samsung made the BIOS for it.

Either way Apple bought the already licensed chips from Infineon and Samsung sought injunction for it.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Samsung was demanding $15.87 per device on an $11.57 patent that it owned by Infineon….because Samsung provided the low level software code embedded in the chip in question. By 2010, Infineon was bought out by Intel…..
Also, in the US patent system, it should be noted that there is a “first buyer” clause…Infineon manufactured the radio chips in question so the embedded code had already been licensed to Infineon for sale. The GSM chip used in Apple’s AT&T version iPhone 4 contained the chip made by Infineon. Since Infineon was licensed to sell the chips with Samsung’s embedded code…they had no right to ask Apple for any sort of royalties. In fact, the software code had been invalidated by 2011 as Apple switched to Qualcomm’s radio chips so the iPhone 4 sold at Verizon and other carriers could use CDMA standard. That when Samsung tried to get FRAND royalties over the Infineon/Intel owned patent.

Samsung argued to the ITC that the CDMA iPhone 4 and CDMA iPad2 were still in licensing agreements under FRAND….If Apple (rightly so) refused to negotiate over the CDMA chips to which it only contributed about %00.0000000375 of the parent, Samsung could then go on a global trek trying to ban those devices because Apple “refused” to negotiate with our “reasonable” and “fair prices” to ?0.0000000443875 per device…multiply that by 180,000,000 devices sold….

Keep in mind that the value of the Infineon chips was estimated to be $11.57 per chip….so when you do the math, even if negotiations worked, that would work out to a total of only ?78 cents in total

So lets take into account that Samsung said it offered a rate of 2.4% per device on royalties to the entire world….and demanded $16.87 per device..

So someone please do the math on the markup given that only ?78 total (78? per 180,000,000 devices sold in other words) face value of Samsung’s patent contributed to the $11.57 total value of the manufacturing cost Infineon 3G GSM chips.

JBDragon says:

Re: Re:

Looks like you haven’t a clue what a Patent Troll is!!!
Also this is Samsung suing Apple over FRAND patents and you don’t seem to have a clue of what that means either. By the way, Apple has not once sued ANY COMPANY over any of it’s own FRAND patents!!!

Samsung outright copying Apple over a whole long list of things, is why Apple has been suing!!! So I really have to show lots of pictures??? What do you Apple haters care.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You apparently have no clue what happened to basically every ‘violoated’ claim in the Apple v Samsung case. The patent office has either invalidated them due to obviousness or they were reconstructed in a way that Samsung didn’t infringe them. It’s ludicrous that you’d use a phrase like ‘outright copying’ while trying to excuse Apple’s refusal to pay the same rate as everyone else for a FRAND patent and use the technology anyway. That is outright copying. What Samsung did doesn’t even compare.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m shocked and disappointed with Mike’s article. Siding with the Obama Administration and their arbitrary decision to ignore the ruling of the the courts and the ITC.

I don’t think it’s “arbitrary.” Read the details carefully.

While I have no love for either company, with Apple patent trolling every company that sells products in the United States and resorting to a “sue happy” state where they target anyone and everyone who sues the “i” in their product name.

I agree. And I’ve spoken out against Apple for those practices. But you’re now arguing that two wrongs make a right and I disagree. Apple is a bad player on many IP fronts. That doesn’t mean they need to be victimized by a bad ITC process.

It’s just disappointing that with Apple suing Samsung left and right that the U.S. Government is protecting Apple and ignoring the courts in the process. The Obama Administration is simply using its own authority to give our courts and the ITC the middle finger.

They’re not ignoring the courts. This is overturning an ITC ruling, not a court ruling. The court case continues.

It’s disrespectful and just proves how corrupt our government has become.

Again, read the details. It is not nearly that simple.

MAC says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Its all a diversion

Anytime you see our government waggling about this or that the ‘this or that’ is not the issue.

The issue is transference of America’s wealth to foreign interest.

Think about it… Why did we put millions of people out of work so that an ‘enemy’ of Freedom could rise to global dominance?

It’s all a diversion from the real problem. And that problem is that we no longer control our government, ‘they’ do.

I am the voice crying out in the wilderness but no one listens. Mark my words, this globalized free trade fiasco is going to end very badly, for US.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Its all a diversion

Sure, these opportunists have been pillaging and exploiting our economic system for quite some time now. How many millions of jobs have been outsourced to other nations, boosting their own economies at our expense? As bad as things are, it’s only going to get worse when Obamacare goes into effect. Employers will have to decide between paying $3,000 annually for medical coverage to hire an American citizen or $0 for an “uncodumented immigrant,” i.e. illegal. Small businesses are going to get clobbered.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Its all a diversion

Mark my words, this globalized free trade fiasco is going to end very badly, for US.

The problem isn’t that we have free trade – it’s that we don’t. The “free trade” agreements are negotiated in secret with technical advisors (lobbyists) from the largest corporation only after their own interests. Instead of promoting free trade, they promote protectionist type policies.

In a (real) free market with (real) free trade, trade imbalances would naturally work themselves out, as the relative exchange rate between the two countries would shift.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Of course, the more cynical among you might note that this is also the US government stepping in to protect the US company (Apple) against a foreign company (Samsung).”

You got that right.

The US isn’t suddenly realising the problems with overzealous patent protectionism: It is exercising said protectionism. The US just went over the rules to defend a domestic company, something which, though patriotic and probably useful for the US, pretty much annihilates the idea that foreign companies can compete fairly with domestic companies in the US.

Let’s not play games: this is flat out protectionism, and it goes against pretty much everything I though Techdirt stands for. It is disappointing that Mike is trying to spin this as somehow positive.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re:

This corporate protectionism racket has been going on for decades, only now it’s much more upfront and brazen in its efforts to destroy what’s left of the free market and favor “too-big-to-fail” US businesses.

Obamacare will only make it that much worse for small businesses to gain traction in today’s hostile market. When you’re forced to choose between paying $3,000 annually for medical coverage of an actual US citizen vs $0 for an illegal (oh, I’m sorry: “undocumented resident” in PR lingo), which are you going to choose? This gives employers every incentive NOT to hire US citizens. We’re being consumed from within.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Ban...and no it's not design issues.

It should be noted that the ban severely undercut Apple’s older/cheaper product line. Samsung sued over technologies it technically doesn’t own to get the blockage into place. Also, Samsung is noted to have tussles with other tech companies over similar issues. Apple designed THIER older processors and had Samsung manufacturing them.

It should also be pointed out that the ban was overruled to create better competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Ban...and no it's not design issues.

It should be noted that Samsung sued over patents it holds when Apple was offered the same Fair, Reasonable, And Non-discriminatory rate that everyone else pays for them, flatly refused to pay it, and then told a judge they would refuse to honor any ruling that wasn’t dictated by them. So the judge granted an injunction because the infringement was obviously willful.

So the ban was actually overruled to create less competition since Apple is paying nothing for something everyone else has to pay for. The US is also trying to give Apple a leg up in the patent wars, what better way to do that then to cripple their competitor’s patent portfolios by making it logistically impossible to get an injunction on Apple’s products.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Ban...and no it's not design issues.

Uhh..not really, it’s a patent that Samsun owns, and tried to license to Apple under FRAND, but Apple doesn’t want to pay the fee, and isn’t willing to negociate, forcing Samsung to sue and win, then the admin stepping in and saying Frand is irrelevant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hopefully, this signals a bit of a change in understanding under the new USTR, such that there’s a real recognition that over aggressive intellectual property laws and enforcement can have seriously negative impact.

It’s not. It’s just protectionism. Everyone has to play by the same patent rules except for US based favorite Apple in the eyes of the USTR. It’s just naked hypocrisy.

silverscarcat (profile) says:

Apple is a U.S company?

Since when?

They have no factories here, all their stuff is built in China and they import it to the U.S. at high prices.

Let’s just be honest, Mike, Apple is not a U.S. corporation, they’re Chinese.

Besides, Obama sat and had dinner with Steve Jobs, you think he wouldn’t look out for that company?

There is nothing positive about what happened here.

If the situations were reversed, does ANYONE think that Samsung would have gotten the same treatment?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Apple is a U.S company?

Manufacturing just isn’t that important anymore

This comment has stuck in my mind. Perhaps you can explain.

Apple is a hardware manufacturer. Their primary business consists of building, manufacturing, and selling physical things. Their software aspects only exist to support their hardware business.

For such a business, how is it that manufacturing isn’t that important?

Jasmine Charter (user link) says:

The even MORE cynical...

The even MORE cynical would recognize that Apple has most likely lined the pockets of officials in the Obama administration and that had no small impact on the decision.

Again… a completely idiotic, worthless gesture since it’s a tiny little band aid on a huge gushing wound of IP over-reach, over-enforcement and over-use.

I read in a different article that Apple had been lobbying hard (read: paying off officials) to get the ban overturned. Funny how “paying off” is now constantly referred to as “lobbying”.

Anonymous Coward says:

there obviously isn’t any sort of ‘favoritism’ is there? not damn much! this is taking the piss! Samsung have their products banned and halted etc and Apple can just carry on! on top of that, Apple are expecting Samsung to produce and sell parts for the new Apple product! Samsung ought to take a serious look at what is happening here and whether they will be worse off by not selling Apple the new parts and not selling their own products in the USA. sure, Apple can go elsewhere but which way would be the best producer of all things for Samsung?

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m torn on this issue. While I agree that Apple’s products shouldn’t be stopped at the gate as I have a high level of distaste for the current patent system, however having a single un-elected official overrule the entire process for one company in particular has me concerned.

This situation is just ripe for abuse and corruption where any nit-pick law or patent claim can totally ban your product after you have already spent the R&D and manufacturing costs, but then being cozy with the right g-man gets you a pass.

Paying off slimy politicians becomes yet another cost of doing business which makes it harder for new companies to enter the market.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So encouraging competition is slimy? Don’t forget Samsung sought the ban….I don’t think trying to get a monetary settlement is as anticompetitive as successfully vying for a sales ban. Maybe you should talk to the slimy ITC officiala for not carefuly reviewing the request for the ban of products that compete directly with Samsung’s lower price range.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well law making aside, the issue is that Samsung, after failing to negotiate FRAND terms with Apple over Apple’s use of GSM 3G antenna on the affected devices (the iPhone 4 and iPad2) they did a Motorola Mobility and went straight to the ITC instead of trying to sue for a summary value….The ITC then rubber-stamped a sales ban on products that competed with Samsung’s own devices at the same price range.

So it’s fairly clear that overruling, while unusual by any means for a president..but still legal, the ITC’s judgement was the right thing to do.

The courts rejected a lot of other claims by Samsung against Apple so that could be why they went to the ITC. It had nothing to do with invalidating any patents Apple held against Samsung and had a lot more to do with getting a sales ban on a competing product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It is hard to argue they didn’t go for a monetary settlement, when Apple flatly told the courts that they would ignore any settlement in which Apple did not dictate all the terms and payments to.

From my understanding of what went down, Samsung treated the ITC as a last resort, as opposed to how most companies treat it (as an opening ploy), but my knowledge could be faulty.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well when the true value of Samsung’s contribution to Infineon’s patent on the 3G GSM chip…..78? per 180,000,000 devices sold…how can anyone pay out that. Also, keep in mind Infineon owns the patent for the chip in question…Samsung’s only contribution was the embedded BIOS that makes it function. Samsung had already licensed their patent to Infineon for sale with Infineon’s finished product GSM chip….Infineon then manufactured and sold those chips to Apple.

In 2010, when Infineon’s patents on that chip were bought out by Intel, Apple had switched to manufacturing devices containing Qualcomm’s CDMA chips and were not even using Samsung’s BIOS. The thing is, before the buyout, Infineon was already paying the FRAND royalty fees in full so Apple and other users of that chip didn’t have to. When the iPhone 4 came to CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint and KDDI, Samsung demanded that Apple pay FRAND royalties on those devices as well and sought a sales ban on them with the ITC as the Samsung vs Apple case was starting.

So then when Apple refused to pay the fee…Samsung started claiming to the ITC that Apple refused to negotiate FRAND royalties and that the devices needed to be banned from import and sale….and guess what…Google and biased views of the Android community were the only resources used by Samsung to get the ban.

So please understand that when you try to claim bias because of someone else’s preference….you look very foolish.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The case I’m talking about occurred in 2010….or 2011 just when things were getting started on that case.

Apple, while somewhat crazy with its own claims against Samsung where Judge Koh was presiding, did not go to the ITC to seek said injunction…Samsung did their bit mid trial before the verdict was reached..Samsung only owned the patent on the BIOS embedded in Infineon’s chip. The patent for Infineon’s chip used Samsung’s patent as a reference patent so the product would function. This also means that whever Infineon sold that chip to did not have to pay royalties on that embede BIOS code.

By the time Intel bought Infineon’s GSM patent as a whole, the trial was starting. Keep in mind however that Infineon had already paid Samsung the full royalties due with each chips that were sold to Apple…then, Samsung sought injunction on Apple on a patent they no longer technically owned because their contribution of the BIOS was the only thing they had on that chip, and in the patent of that chip, the BIOS was referential and royalty free by that point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just another way that Apple gets to play by it’s own rules. And how Apple gets to get away with patent infringement while suing everyone else to death for patent infringement.

They need to update that old saying, “don’t throw stones in glass houses”. It should now be “Don’t throw stones in glass houses, unless you’re Apple”

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Read the case against Samsung…you’ll find they have a history of claiming that companies are refusing to negotiate with them concerning FRAND. They’ve even been dumb enough to try to sue Erikson Corperation over the BluTooth Patents Erickson owns….Sansung even used the same argument that they had against Apple…and got nailed when Erikson counter-sued.

Digger says:

Dear Mr. President, Apple is worse than Snowden...

Snowden is a whistle blower, protecting the people by uncovering the treasonous actions of your government – he should be pardoned, protected by the Secret Service and granted a lifetime of income, tax-free, Presidential caliber health-insurance benefits, and a life of luxury – of his choosing, anywhere in the world.

Apple on the other hand, knowingly violated international law and made use of known patented materials and products to create devices that they then sold without offering any form of restitution to the people that created said technology. These cretins need to be stopped immediately, seize all of their assets, freeze all of their accounts, until equitable remuneration (with adequate penalties, say a million times the normal rate) is made for the patents they illegally used.

Also, while I’m at it – can you do something about the fucking ridiculous design patents that Apple was granted – designs that they stole from other companies (look at comparisons between Apple products and 30+ year old Braun products) as well as the 2000+ year old Clay Stylus which as we all know is rectangular shaped with rounded corners.

Thanks for your attention to these matters, and I look forward to you doing the right and legal thing in resolving them.

Otherwise, I may get to look forward to your impeachment and subsequent trial for treason.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s protectionism pure and simple.

What some missed is that Samsung put the money into research to create the technology and then made it part of the standard, making their patent a FRAND patent, this means licensing should be fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory. Apple failed to show how Samsung were not upholding the FRAND requirements, and instead tried to claim their product was a top shelf product and the normal agreement (I think it’s 3% RRP) was too expensive. The ITC agreed with Samsung, but this had already been tried in the US with the courts siding with Apple and basically saying FRAND Patents are unenforcable, and if Samsung didn’t like it they’d have to take it up with the ITC.
Well no the fix is in, and the US still think that a company can’t enforce a FRAND patent, even when the world says they can.
At the end of the day this behavior hurts the consumer more than the patent trolls out there. Trolls don’t invent anything, thats why they’re an issue. Samsung actually did R&D and invented some new tech and said everyone who wants it needs to pay a fee that is “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory”. Apple basically decided they shouldn’t have to pay for it, so wouldn’t. The US courts said Apple needed to work it out with Samsung, but the courts wouldn’t enforce anything (trying the honor system with Apple… You realy should pay, but we won’t make you).

The fact that the courts dismissed the creater of a technology -Samsung- trying to get Apple to pay what they owe, yet let Apple sue over a group of fairly rubbish software patents (some of witch have been overturned now) shows the US legal system prefers the home team.

The overturning of the ITC recomendation is not suprising as the US have a tradition of going “screw you” to the rest of the world.

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