Obama Administration Overturns Ban on Sales of Older iPhones

The Obama administration has issued a reprieve to a U.S. International Trade Commission order that banned Apple from selling certain older model iPhones and iPads which violated Samsung Electronics patents.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman wrote to the commission in a letter published on Saturday. In the letter Froman explained that his move to veto the ban was driven by direction from the president. Here is an excerpt from the letter:

The Administration is committed to promoting innovation and economic progress, including through providing adequate and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Relief available to the owners of intellectual property rights through section 337 is an important facet of achieving that objective. At the same time, standards, and particularly voluntary consensus-based standards set by SDOs, have come to play an increasingly important role in the U.S. economy. Important policy considerations arise in the enforcement of those patents incorporated into technical standards without which such standards cannot be implemented as designed when the patent holder has made a voluntary commitment to offer to license these SEPs on FRAUD terms.

You can read the entire letter here.