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Summary:

President Obama gave Apple a hand when he overturned an iPhone import ban that was to go into effect in August. Will he do the same for Samsung?

Obama

President Obama made one of the easiest decision of his tenure in August when he acceded to Apple’s request to overrule an obscure agency that had imposed an import ban on certain iPhones. Now he has a chance to do the same for Samsung, which is asking for the same favor to stop a ban set for October 8 — but the outcome may not be the same.

As Bloomberg reports, the Korean company asked the White House in August to override a finding by the International Trade Commission that its phones infringed two Apple patents, including one for “headset plug and play detection.” As a result of that ruling, the ITC imposed a ban on older Samsung units (it’s unclear which ones but, since the complaint dates from July 2011, new models are unlikely to be affected).

The US trade representative, who speaks for Obama on the issue, said he has yet to make up his mind on the issue, but did tell Bloomberg that the decision would have nothing to do with national favoritism. The comment likely reflected the fact that the Korean company, which has lost a number of high-profile court decisions, has suggested that American officials may be Apple-biased.

Another complication for the import ban, slated to go into effect at midnight on Tuesday, is the ongoing government shutdown. I looked for an update on the website of the ITC (an agency I’ve argued has no business in the patent game), and here is a screenshot of what I found:

screen shot of govt' shutdown

  1. More surprising stories here about technology and the people behind them! — http://www.londonreal.tv/silicon/

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    1. You’re a little behind the times Walter. This sort of spam gets you a page rank penalty on google these days. Good luck with that. Soon, you’ll be threatening Gigaom with the DMCA to take down the post because you can’t do it yourself. And I will still be laughing at you.

      To the point of the article, Obama has no interest in doing Samsung any favors. Pure jingoism at its finest. Apple violates the law and “steals” Samsung intellectual property? No problem. Go ahead. But when the shoe is on the other foot, Samsung will face the strictest penalties available.

      Is it any wonder why the best smartphones now show up in the US last? Is it any wonder how American companies like Moto and Apple pump out last year’s tech at this year’s prices? iPhone5s 8MP camera? Moto X dual core snapdragon S4?

      Meanwhile, Sony released a Snapdragon 800 with gigabit wifi and a 20MP camera. It isn’t available in any American store, and probably won’t be for months to come.

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