THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION has upheld a decision to ban some Samsung mobile technology products due to the company’s violation of patents owned by rival Apple.
US trade representative Michael Froman rejected a Samsung effort to overturn the August ruling by the US international trade commission to ban some older model Samsung smartphones and tablets for the patent infringements.
“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow the commission’s determination . . . to become final,” Froman said in a statement.
The ITC in August ruled that Samsung had infringed two Apple patents — numbers 949 and 501, dealing with touchscreen actions and headphone jack plug-ins — but cleared the South Korean company of charges that it had violated four more.
The USTR statement said the ruling will have “minimal” effect on consumers, in part because Samsung “has been able to make changes to its products so that they avoid infringing the two Apple patents at issue in this case.”
‘Nationality played no role’
“The nationality of the companies involved played no role in the review process,” the USTR said. “Both Samsung and Apple are important contributors to the US economy and help advance innovation and technological progress.”
A Samsung spokesperson said the company was “disappointed” by the ruling. “It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer,” the spokesperson said.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately today, the Korean electronics announced details of its new smartphone with a curved display.
The Galaxy Round has a curved 14.5 cm screen which uses advanced display technology called organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, technology. The company says it is the ‘world’s first curved smartphone’ and will be easier to grip.
Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy