Companies Lining Up in Support of Apple Ahead of Potential Older Model iPhone/iPad Ban in U.S.
Following last week's opinion piece from Verizon attorney Randall Milch outlining why the carrier objects to the impending U.S. ban on imports of older iPhone and 3G-capable iPad models, The Wall Street Journal notes that a number of other companies and regulators are lining up in support of Apple in the case.
Rather than taking a position on the details of the case, which revolve around a Samsung patent categorized as essential for 3G wireless functionality and thus subject to licensing under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) terms, the companies are primarily objecting to the precedent of allowing products to be banned based on rulings of infringement of such patents.
AT&T said the ITC [International Trade Commission] ruling would eliminate a popular low-cost iPhone for AT&T customers and was "inconsistent with the president's goal of ubiquitous broadband deployment." [...]
BSA, a trade group representing software makers including Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. and chip maker Intel Corp., said the use of essential industry patents to ban products shouldn't be allowed except under unusual circumstances.
Intel is scheduled to testify at the Senate hearing and previously filed its concerns with the ITC.
The report indicates that antitrust officials from the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have also been weighing in on the matter with their fears that companies may be unfairly wielding their standards-essential patents to hamper competition in the marketplace. For their parts, Apple and Samsung have disagreed over whether fair licensing offers have been made in the on-and-off negotiations over the relevant intellectual property.
The import ban is set to take effect on August 4, barring a veto by the executive branch of the government, which would come through U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. An executive branch veto of an ITC order would be a significant move, as such a veto has not been issued since 1987.