The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...
By Brian Flood
Oct. 8 --The administration will not overturn a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) order blocking imports of certain smartphones and tablet computers manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co., which were found to infringe on patents held by Apple Inc., the United States Trade Representative announced.
The ITC determined Aug. 9 that imports of these products infringe certain of Apple's graphical interface and hardware patents, and that an order against their import under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 was warranted.
The USTR could have overruled the order on policy grounds, specifically the order's expected impact on competitive conditions in the U.S. and its effect on U.S. consumers. After weighing policy considerations, however, the USTR left the order in place, according to an Oct. 8 press release.
In the statement, USTR Michael Froman said, “I am continuing the practice of successive Administrations of exercising section 337 policy review authority with restraint.”
The matter comes soon after Froman on Aug. 6 invoked the policy review authority to overturn a different order by the ITC that would have barred Apple Inc. from importing some older iPhone and iPad models that were determined to be in violation of patents held by Samsung.
That dispute concerned standard-essential patents (SEPs), patents that cover inventions that must be used to comply with an industry's technical standard. Froman there cited “substantial concerns” that SEP owners, such as Samsung, who make voluntary commitments to offer to license their technology on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms can thereby gain undue leverage and engage in “patent hold-up”--obtaining a higher price for use of a patent than the company could have gotten before the standard was set and alternative technologies were still available.
While Samsung expressed concerns about the clarity of the order at issue here and about possible problems that could arise in the order's interpretation by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Froman recommended “close coordination between CBP and the USITC in addressing such enforcement issues.” He also announced that the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator is conducting an interagency review “aimed at strengthening the procedures and practices used during the enforcement of USITC exclusion orders.”
A Samsung spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA, “We are disappointed by the U.S. Trade Representative's decision to allow the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer.” Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Alexander J. Hadjis and Kristin L. Yohannan of Morrison & Foerster, Washington, represented Apple before the USITC.
Charles K. Verhoeven of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Washington, represented Samsung.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Flood in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at email@example.com.
The U.S. Trade Representative's press release is available at http://op.bna.com/itr.nsf/id/bfld-9calp4/$File/USTR%20Samsung.pdf.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)