In a move not taken by a U.S. president in decades, over the weekend the Obama Administration vetoed a partial ban on the import and sale of some Apple products, which was granted back in June in a response to a ruling made by the ITC.
The ban, which applied to AT&T models of the iPhone 4 and 3GS as well as the 3G models of the iPad and iPad 2 was granted after the organization determined that these products infringed on Samsung Patent No. 7,706,348, titled “Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system.”
According to the United States Trade Representative Michael B. G. Froman in a letter written to Irving A. Williamson, the Chairman of the ITC:
“After extensive consultations with the agencies of the Trade Policy Staff Committee and the Trade Policy Review Group [...] I have decided to disapprove the USITC’s determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order in this investigation.”
The letter added that the Obama administration was “committed to promoting innovation and economic progress, including through providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.”
The last time a sitting U.S. president interfered with an ITC decision was 1987.