US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has vetoed a ruling by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that would have seen an import ban placed on some older model Apple iPhone and iPad devices.
The surprise decision is a blow to Samsung and means that Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad 2 will not be banned in the US, despite an earlier ruling by the ITC that a ban should be enforced from today, 5 August.
The Obama administration overruled the ITC decision citing concerns that it would harm competition in the US and could affect the country's economy.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a letter sent to the ITC, "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 US ITC's determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order in this investigation.
"The Policy Statement expresses substantial concerns, which I strongly share, about the potential harms that can result from owners of standards-essential patents [SEPs] who have made a voluntary commitment to offer to license SEPs on terms that are fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory ('FRAND')," he added.
Naturally Apple applauded the administration's decision. A spokesperson for the company said, "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 isn't pleased, of course, and the Financial Times is reporting that the firm will appeal the decision. The Korean firm said in a statement, "We are disappointed that the US Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the US 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 licence," the Korean company added.
Samsung might have some more bad news in a few days, as the ITC is set to decide whether to ban some of the firm's devices following an Apple patent complaint. This potentially could see devices including the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 slapped with a sales ban in the US. µ