Thanks to the White House, Apple. Inc. won another battle in its on-going intellectual property war with Samsung Electronics Co. Earlier this month, the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the Obama Administration would veto an exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) covering several popular Apple products.


The ITC’s Apple ruling found that several older devices, including the AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G, infringe a mobile technology patent held by Samsung. As part of its decision, the ITC issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting Apple from importing infringing devices. It also issued a cease and desist order banning the sale and distribution of the infringing products within the United States.

Under 19 U.S.C. 1337(j), the ITC was required to send a copy of its determination to the President. The President then had 60 days to review the ruling and decide whether to overturn it for policy reasons. The President has delegated his authority to the U.S. Trade Representative.

In this case, Michael Froman explained that he vetoed the order based on “policy considerations [ ] as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and effect on U.S. consumers.” He specifically cited the Department of Justice and United States Patent and Trademark Office’s “Policy Statement on Remedies for Standard-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary FRAND Commitments,” which called on the ITC to exercise restraint when asked to impose injunctions in patent infringement actions involving key technologies. (Our prior discussion of the policy statement in available here.)

Interestingly, this is only the sixth time that a President or U.S. Trade Representative has rejected an ITC order under Section 1337, and the first disapproval since 1987. To avoid another reversal, the ITC will likely more closely scrutinize future cases involving standard-essential patents.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +