Samsung‘s hopes that the US government would overturn an ITC ban on certain smartphones and tablets, just as President Obama’s White House did for a similar ban on Apple devices, have been dashed, with the fast-approaching sales block upheld. The South Korean company had approached the US trade representative in August, arguing that a ban on several of its Android devices were counter to the public interest and requesting a stay on the sales block, just as Apple had been granted over an injunction it had been granted. However, Bloomberg reports, Obama’s trade chief refuses to play ball.
“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 ban]” Michael Froman said today.
Samsung, unsurprisingly, is disappointed by the decision. “It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer” the company said in a statement, a spokesperson describing the firm as “disappointed” in Froman’s stance.
Potentially working against Samsung in the case is the age of the devices in question, and the fact that the company’s current range has been modified so as to not infringe the contentious patents. Samsung changed its design to work around Apple’s intellectual property on the headphone jack and display of mobile devices.
The fact that Samsung made those alterations – and the specific reference to that in the sales ban order – are namechecked by Froman in his statement. “The order expressly states that these devices and any other Samsung electronic media devices incorporating the approved design-around technologies are not covered” he writes. “Thus, I do not believe that concerns with regard to enforcement related to the scope of the order, in this case, provide a policy basis for disapproving it.”
However, the decision to step in and rescue a US company but not do similar for a foreign firm has already prompted ire from some quarters. Apple is yet to comment on the decision.