Monday, August 05, 2013

South Korea calls U.S. overturning of iPhone, iPad import ban 'protectionism'

On Saturday, the Obama administration exercised its executive powers and overturned an International Trade Commission import ban on several older Apple products. Most had believed such a "veto" to be unlikely, based on history, but the importance of Apple in the U.S. is likely to have played a role.

On Monday came the expected fallout: Samsung is a South Korean company, and the government of South Korea expressed "concerns" about the overturning of the ban. At the same time, the move was criticized by South Korean media as "protectionism."

The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, said in a statement:
We express concerns about the negative impact that such a decision would have on the protection of patent rights.
The ITC's ban had been made in June, with the Obama Administration having until Aug. 5 to intervene, affected the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the iPad 3G, the iPad 2 3G and the iPad 3.

Some of these are no longer sold, but can still be found on eBay and other such sites.

On Saturday, Samsung said:
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 ITC ban said that the devices infringed a patent owned by Samsung, but one known as a FRAND or standards-essential patent.

A FRAND patent must be licensed under fair terms. While Apple claims that Samsung is demanding too much for the license, Samsung says it has given a fair offer to Apple, which the Cupertino, Calif.-based giant has refused to accept.

Unlike an ITC ruling, the decision, issued Saturday by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, cannot be appealed.

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