Patent War Adds Front in U.S.

Smartphone rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have dueled over patents in courts around the globe. Now they are sparring in front of the Obama administration, which faces a looming decision on whether to veto a trade body’s order blocking the U.S. sale of some Apple devices.

At issue is a June ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission, an increasingly hot venue for patent fights, that said Apple infringed on a Samsung patent and ordered a ban on some older-model Apple iPhones and iPads. The trade body has jurisdiction over certain unfair trade practices and can block the import and sale of products, a powerful patent weapon companies can use against their competitors.

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