Feeds

Apple ban win: Now you can't buy Samsung gear no one was buying

What a slam-dunk, Cupertino

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Obama administration has decided not to use its veto powers to overturn a ban on the import of certain aging Samsung devices - a ban that had been won by Apple at the US International Trade Commission.

"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 import ban, said Obama's man on the spot, US Trade Representative Michael Froman, in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.*

This August, the US ITC ruled in favor of Apple's infringement allegations regarding patent 7,479,949 – issued to "Jobs, et al." – related to multi-touch graphical user interface tech, and patent 7,912,501, related to audio-jack insertion and removal.

Not that Froman's recommendation is a punishing one for Samsung. The devices covered by the ban include a basketful of oldies and not-so-goodies, such as Sammy's Captivate, Continuum, Fascinate, and a few other devices that didn't exactly set the world on fire.

What likely frosts Samsung more than the banning of some geriatric kit is the fact that the US ITC had also imposed an import ban on some older Apple iDevices, but that ban never took effect: Obama minion Froman recommended that the USITC not enforce the ban on Apple kit – a decision that "disappointed" the South Korean government.

That government may very well also be disappointed by the perceived double standard when it comes to the Obama administration's attitude to import bans on American versus South Korean companies. However, Bloomberg reported this Sunday that Froman said he had made it "absolutely clear" to both Samsung and the South Korean government that his decisions have "nothing, zero, to do with the nationality of the parties involved."

You can choose to take that statement as either honesty or politically inspired mendacity, but truth be told, the infringed upon-patents in each case are sufficiently different to have led Froman to different recommendations.

As Computerworld's Jonny Evans argued in his admittedly pro-Cupertino "Apple Holic" column this Monday, the patent that Samsung accused Apple of violating – 7,706,348, related to CDMA encoding and decoding – can be subject to "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) consideration, meaning it's essential to industry-standard interoperability and functionality, and thus necessary for keeping markets reasonably competitive without monopolistic overreach.

The patents in the Apple versus Samsung case, on the other hand, can be considered to relate to Apple-specific features that don't prevent others from achieving the same feature and functionality goals in their own way. They're not industry standards, but rather product-differentiation patents.

You may now argue this distinction among yourselves in the comment section. ®

* Bootnote

When we fired up the the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative to check on Froman's statement, we found the following: "Due to the lapse in funding, the USTR website will remain live, but without updates, for the duration of the government shutdown."

For its part, the USITC's website announces: "During shutdown, the online services provided on the Commission's World Wide Web site, at www.usitc.gov, will be unavailable," but promises, "Restoration of service is expected as quickly as possible after appropriations become available."

Bloomberg is apparently fortunate enough to be on a mailing list to which The Reg is not privy.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.