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The iPhone 4 row continues: South Korea decries 'protectionist' U.S. government

The iPhone 4 row continues: South Korea decries 'protectionist' U.S. government

The government of South Korea has expressed concern over the Obama administration's decision to overturn a ban imposed by the U.S. International Trade Commission on iPhone 4 and cell-equipped iPad 2 models. The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy denounced the administration's decision as "protectionism," reported Reuters.

On Saturday, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman overturned the ITC's ban before it could take effect. He cited the best interest of U.S. consumers as his rationale for overturning the ban:

This decision is based on my reiew of the various policy considerations discussed above as they relate to the effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.

It's the latest skirmish in the war between Apple and Samsung, which have been at each other's throats since 2011, suing each other over patent violations in countries around the world. Samsung saw a victory earlier this year when the U.S. ITC ruled against Apple, finding that Apple had violated Samsung-held patents.

Froman noted in his decision that Samsung was free to seek other remedies from Apple, but made it clear that the ITC-imposed ban just wasn't going to happen. It's the first time there's been a Presidential veto of an ITC ban in a quarter century.

Courts and regulatory bodies like the ITC take much longer to act than the technology industry. The iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 have already superseded the iPhone 4, and will likely see yet another sucessor this fall. And the iPad 2 has been replaced by the third- and fourth-generation iPads and the iPad mini. So even if the ban had gone into effect, its impact on Apple's bottom line probably wouldn't have been very great.

The ITC's next litmus test is expected at the end of the week, when it decides whether to ban Samsung Galaxy devices that have been found to infringe on Apple patents.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 15 comments. Add yours.

Firehand81 says:

Now I kinda wanna see them banning most Galaxy devices, just so that people can have nice rage about USA :)

MERCDROID says:

Why? Nothing good comes from any of this.

kvndugan says:

... Doesn't the South Korean government give Samsung all kinds of special favors?

iDisturbia says:

No, but apparently it's a known fact and well documented all over Internet that Samsung owns S. Korean government.

Aaron Fothergill says:

Yup. Their CEO was convicted of bribery and pardoned and charged with massive corporate fraud but wasn't arrested because "it would be too disruptive".

BP41 says:

Tread carefully. South Korea owes the US more than it could ever pay back in 3 lifetimes. There wouldn't be a South Korea without the US. PERIOD.

lkrupp says:

The U.S. should pull all troops out of South Korea, all military assistance, and abrogate all defense treaties. Then let's watch Samsung and the government in the South deal with their "Dear Leader" in the North all by themselves.

Peter Cohen says:

Seems like kind of an extreme reaction over a cell phone.

lkrupp says:

A knee jerk reaction that felt good.

Pontavignon says:

Poorly written piece Peter.

You failed to even mention the difference between the SEP patent decision that was overturned, and the non-SEP patent decisions that are going to be announced shortly by the ITC. These are two totally different classes of patents. Not comparable at all. Yet you by omission appear to compare them, and set the stage for them to be erroneously compared soon. As a long-time journalist, I have no trouble identifying sloppy journalism. Like just now.

K Sec says:

While i dont usually agree on Daniel Eran Dilger, whom i think is the internet biggest Apple fan boy, but he does once in a while produce some thoughtful piece. And here is one on the Apple Samsung Patents. A nice read.

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/08/05/samsungs-vetoed-push-for-an-it...

tooicecool98 says:

apple are cheap loser which have to resort to such cheap strategy in order to maintain the myth that they are the best innovator

RattyUK says:

What a strange, strange, comment. "Cheap loser" strange because they are the current leader in terms of profit I don't see the loss. "Cheap strategy" - The bit where the US government effectively punished Samsung for attempting to use it's IP - a very small part of the standard that they tried to get Apple banned for using - where they were demanding $16 surcharge on an $11 component which already paid for the rights to use the IP from Samsung - but only when it was losing to Apple in terms of sales did Samsung declare invalid? Also the fact that Samsung then insisted to all it's licensees that they could not sell to Apple (where is the non-descriminartory part of that then?).
"maintain the myth that they are the best innovator" Pray tell, who is the "best innovator", then? You can go look at all of Samsung's products up until the release of the iPhone and they look nothing like what Apple did. You can go look at all of Samsung's tablet products up until the release of the iPad and they look nothing like what Apple did. You can then go look at them after the release of the Apple products. Pretty much sums it all up.

Hasbullah Mappelawa says:

That's an epic rebuttal, well done