Verizon Lawyer Calls for Apple v. Samsung Presidential Intervention to Prevent iPhone Ban

Ahead of an upcoming import ban on older Apple devices, Verizon attorney Randal Milch has published an open letter via The Wall Street Journal, calling for presidential intervention in the case to veto the ban.

High-tech products can implicate thousands of patents. If the ITC finds that a product infringes even a single one, it can stop the product at the border. But that's basically it. The commission can't levy much in the way of a lesser penalty. In the end the consumer suffers when the use of such an enforcement tool is unwarranted.

The import ban was originally scheduled back in June, after the U.S. International Trade Commission reached a decision on an ongoing Apple vs. Samsung patent case. The ITC ruled that Apple infringed on Samsung Patent No. 7,706,384, entitled "Apparatus and method for encoding/decoding transport format combination indicator in CDMA mobile communication system."

iphone4s
A cease and desist order was issued on several Apple products, including AT&T models of the iPhone 3GS and 4, the iPad 3G, and the iPad 2 3G. The ban did not go into effect immediately, however, as such rulings are given a 60 day window for the White House to intervene.

Though Verizon is not directly affected by case as it pertains solely to AT&T products, Milch believes that such a ban would further encourage patent abuse.

What we have warned is that patent litigation at the ITC—where the only remedy is to keep products from the American public—is too high-stakes a game for patent disputes. The fact that the ITC's intellectual-property-dispute docket has nearly quadrupled over 15 years only raises the stakes further. Smartphone patent litigation accounts for a substantial share of that increase.

While a presidential veto on an ITC decision has not happened since 1987, Milch suggests that intervention is necessary when the patent holder is not using the technology (as is often the case with patent trolls), when the patent holder has agreed to license the patent on reasonable terms, or when the infringement is unimportant to the overall product. Apple's infringement on Samsung's patent falls into the third category.

"There are more than 250,000 patents relevant to today’s smartphones," Milch writes. "It makes no sense that exclusion could occur for infringement of the most minor patent."

Without intervention, the cease and desist order on Apple products will go into effect on August 5, 2013. Apple has filed for an appeal and has also requested a stay on the ban.

Top Rated Comments

joecool99 Avatar
111 months ago
so what. apple will discontinue those products anyway this fall.
apple is just buying time. next.

* however as a principle, this ridiculous patent war is out of hand. the whole system of patents need a major overhaoul how they are awarded and enforced.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sputnikv Avatar
111 months ago
the low cost iphone as a replacement for the 4s makes more sense now
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dontazemebro Avatar
111 months ago
I'm pretty sure the president has more pressing matters to attend to than to worry about Samsung and Apple's pissing contest.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StuBeck Avatar
111 months ago
No one seemed to care when Samsung was blocked from the Australian market for a year. I'm not sure why they're suddenly concerned when it affects them.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Klae17 Avatar
111 months ago
Here's a lawyer I can stand by!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
111 months ago
Because the current patents are in question, they cannot act on this until the questions are answered in THE CURRENT lawsuits, in the JUDICIAL BRANCH. The US ITC cannot determine if patents were infringed until a federal court, the Judicial branch, decides if patents were infringed on by the current laws put in place by the Legislative branch.
The ITC specifically exists to determine if imported goods infringe on US patents. This means that it has a lot of patent experience... certainly far, far more than most courts and juries.

That experience is why the Federal Courts will often defer a patent trial until the ITC has made an infringement determination. The courts don't have to follow the ITC decision, but it can be a big influence on companies settling ahead of time.

That's why Apple is a big user of the ITC. For example, they used it to leverage HTC into a deal, by getting a ban on their imports.

If the US ITC is able to ban imports based on a decision they make; and the decisions and questions are working its ways through courts; THEN they are overstepping their boundaries and acting like a court without any oversight. They are setting a very dangerous president.
That precedent was set decades ago. As for oversight, you can appeal their decisions to the President and to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

Note that the ITC can only ban imports. They cannot award damages etc... that's for the Federal courts.

The fact that they can only ban imports has another ramification that no one has mentioned yet: Motorola's latest phones are being built in the US. They cannot be banned by the ITC! That might be one reason why Apple is also thinking of moving some production back here.

Full disclosure: I'm against software patents, so I don't believe in the bans, either. Just repeating what the facts are, not supporting them.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
iphone se 2020 top

iPhone SE With Larger 5.7-Inch Display May Launch in 2023, 'iPhone SE+ 5G' Also Rumored

Monday January 17, 2022 6:46 am PST by
Apple is planning to release a fourth-generation iPhone SE with a larger 5.7-inch display as early as 2023, according to display industry consultant Ross Young, who has proven to be a reliable source of information for future Apple products. The fourth-generation iPhone SE has until now been rumored to launch in 2024, but Young now says a 2023 release is looking more likely....
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...