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US: Does Obama’s iPhone ban veto undermine ITC?

 |  August 6, 2013

Some experts say President Barack Obama’s recent decision to veto the International Trade Commission’s ban on the import of certain iPhone and iPad models found to have infringed on Samsung patents may undermine the ITC and could weaken its stronghold in patent cases.

The White House announced last weekend that it overturned the ITC’s ruling to the relief of Apple, which had backing from other technology companies and members of Congress. The case highlights the larger issue of standard essential patents, which are often purchased by so-called patent trolls specifically to initiate lawsuits against the companies that use such patents. Experts say the practice severely restricts innovation and competition.

The Obama administration’s decision to overturn the ruling was the first such instance of vetoing an ITC import ban in more than 25 years. Antitrust lawyer Jay Jurata, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, told media that the decision “goes beyond Apple and Samsung.” The ITC, say reports, has attracted patent cases as the regulator has the authority to ban imports on products found to be infringing on patents; recent years have made the ITC the destination for companies looking to ban imports of products related to FRAND patents. According to Jurata, the ITC essential “would ignore the FRAND promise.” But the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and other lawmakers have all backed the FRAND standard and voiced their opposition to such lawsuits regarding standard essential patents.

Full Content: Law.com

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