John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple, Samsung Spar Over ITC Import Ban on Older iPhones, iPads

The Joy of Tech

With the clock ticking on the 60-day review period before a U.S. International Trade Commission ban on the importation of older iPhones and iPads goes into effect, Apple has appealed to the United States Trade Representative to stop it.

In a June 19 filing obtained by Foss Patents, Apple argued that the ITC’s decision to grant Samsung’s request for a ban on iOS devices that allegedly infringe a patent Samsung declared standards-essential will cause “long-term, dynamic harm” to competition and innovation.

Specifically, Apple argued that Samsung did not honor its obligation to license the patent on FRAND terms (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory). And it complained that the ITC didn’t give it a grace period in which to work around the patent.

“The ITC has taken action that threatens an international, political, regulatory, and judicial consensus aimed at critical economic issues cutting across the world-wide economy,” Apple said. “And, it has done so for a party, Samsung, that seeks nothing more than hold-up leverage to make exorbitant licensing demands.”

In a dueling filing made the same day, Samsung claimed that it did attempt to license the patent to Apple, but Cupertino rebuffed it.

“Because Apple has refused to even engage in negotiations of a FRAND license to Samsung’s SEPs, Samsung deserves the exclusion order issued by the ITC to be allowed to take effect,” the company argued, adding that — despite claims to the contrary — it has always honored its commitment to license declared-essential patents on FRAND terms, even to rivals.

In fact, according to Samsung, there’s still a FRAND offer on the table for Apple to accept.

“Samsung placed a generous, FRAND-compliant offer for a license including the ’348 patent on the table well before the ITC’s decision, the ITC validated that offer, and it still stands,” the company said. “Samsung has always honored its commitment to license its declared-essential patents on FRAND terms and conditions. Samsung has never refused to license its SEPs to other companies, including direct competitors like Apple. And Samsung has never offensively used its patents, essential or not, to keep competitors out of the market.”

That’s Samsung’s opinion, anyway. Its rivals believe otherwise. And the company is currently being investigated by the ITC and the European Commission to determine if its assertion of standards-essential patents in litigation like this violates competition laws.

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