US sides with Apple; some Samsung Android devices banned

The US wouldn't uphold a ban on the import of some older versions of Apple iPhone and iPad, but it had no such qualms about banning some older Samsung Android smartphones and tablets from the US market.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Apple/Samsung patent war keeps grinding on. In the latest battle, Samsung's request that it be allowed to continue to ship some older Android devices to the US market was rejected by the Obama administration.

In the latest legal battle between Samsung Android and Apple iOS, Apple emerged the winner.

As reported by Bloomberg, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement, “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 import ban to proceed."

The banned devices are those that have been found to violate two of Apple's patents. These are:

  • US Patent No. 7,479,949, aka the ’949 patent; affects claims 1, 4-6, 10, and 17-20): Concerns touch commands on touch-screen devices.
  • US Patent No. 7,912,501, aka the ’501 patent; affects claims 1-4 and 8): Concerns input and output detection for microphone and headphone jacks.

It's not clear which Samsung smartphones and tablets will be banned. Newer Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy Note 3 or Note 10.1, will not be banned.

Normally, the executive branch of government doesn't veto decisions by the US International Trade Commission (ITC). However, in a rare move, the government had vetoed the ITC's ban of some older iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G devices following Apple's loss to Samsung in another patent infringement suit.

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