Apple-Led Import Ban on Certain Samsung Products Takes Effect

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The latest update in the seemingly endless patent feud between Samsung and Apple finds that an Apple-won ban on the sale of certain Samsung phones and tablets hasn’t been overturned as Samsung hoped.

As Ars Technica’s Joe Mullin notes, “The exclusion order came out two months ago and kicks in today. The Korean company’s last hope was a veto of the order by President Barack Obama, who recently issued a similar veto to protect Apple from an exclusion order.”

An earlier Samsung-won ban on the sale of certain Apple devices had been overturned, though as Mullin points out:

There are big differences between the two dueling ITC cases—in particular, Samsung was attacking Apple with standard-essential patents, whereas Apple was using patents on specific non-standard-based features. Despite that, the fact that the Obama administration was willing to intervene in the Apple-Samsung battles in favor of the US company may smack of favoritism to some.

It’s not entirely clear which Samsung devices will be banned for sale here in the U.S., but they’re very unlikely to be current models that are in any sort of demand. It appears that Samsung made sure to avoid potential conflicts with Apple-owned patents – in this case, a multi-touch patent and a patent for a sensor in the headphone jack – for its more current lines of Galaxy devices. Two devices that Mullin lists, Samsung’s Transform SPH-M920 and the Continuum SCH-1400, came out in 2009 and 2010, respectively. As a mildly amusing aside, Mullin points out that we can’t look up which other Samsung devices might be included in the ban because the International Trade Commission’s website and the U.S. Trade Representative’s website are either closed or dormant due to the government shutdown.

According to Bloomberg, Samsung expressed that it was disappointed with the ban. A company representative commented, “It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer.”

Older Samsung phones banned from US as trade order goes into effect [Ars Technica]