South Korea 'concerned' over US veto on Apple ban

South Korean government voices its concerns over the "negative impact" of the U.S. government's move to overturn a ban of some Apple models in the United States.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

The South Korean government has voiced its concerns over a decision by the U.S. government to overturn a ban of some Apple models in the United States. 

South Korean trade ministry concerned about impact U.S. veto would have on "the protection of patent rights".

The Obama administration on Saturday vetoed a court ruling that would have stopped the iPhone maker from selling older versions of its smartphone and iPad in the U.S. market. The decision was made in June by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to implement the limited import ban following a patent infringement dispute with Samsung. 

Elaborating on the decision, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said: "After extensive consultations [with numerous agencies], I have decided to disapprove the USITC's determination to issue an exclusion order and cease-and-desist order in this investigation. This decision is based on my review of the various policy considerations [discussed in the letter] as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers."

It marked the first time the White House had vetoed an order by the USITC since 1987. South Korean media had lashed out at the decision, describing the move as "protectionism". 

The country's Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy on Monday released a statement, noting: "We express concerns about the negative impact that such a decision would have on the protection of patent rights."

It called for the U.S. trade body and Obama administration to make "fair and reasonable decisions", as Samsung faces a possible import ban on its own products in the U.S. following Apple's claims the Korean manufacturer had infringed on its patents. A decision on this case is expected on Friday. 

The two arch rivals, currently the world's two leading smartphone makers, have been filing patent lawsuits against each other since 2011, with each claiming the other copied the design, technology, and user interface of their respective products. 

Last month, both were reportedly in discussions to ink out a cross-licensing deal as part of efforts to end their patent disputes. One source said negotiations had begun since late-2012 and had "come down to the issue of fees for Apple". 

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