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Obama administration vetoes ITC ban against Apple

President Obama’s administration has vetoed a US trade commission’s ban on the sale and import of certain Apple products that infringed a Samsung patent

The veto overrides an International Trade Commission (ITC) decision on case 337-794 in June, which banned the sale and import of AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. The order was based on the ITC’s finding that Apple infringed Samsung’s patent claims covering 3G wireless technology. Samsung had also argued that Apple had infringed another three patents, but the ITC disagreed.

The veto was announced on Sunday by US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who said he had made the decision partially because of the “effect on competitive conditions in the US economy and the effect on US consumers.” The last presidential veto of a product ban was in 1987.

The patent at issue is classified as standards essential, meaning it must be licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The veto is likely to affect other standards essential patents.

Samsung will still be able to pursue a patent infringement claim against Apple through the courts.

Samsung said in a statement that it is "disappointed" that the ban has been overturned. "The ITC's decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license," it said.

Apple said in a statement: “We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.”

The news is the latest installment in a long-running battle between the two companies over Smartphone technology.

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