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US will uphold ban won by Apple on some Samsung products

NEW YORK — In another blow to Samsung Electronics Co. in its continuing patent disputes with Apple Inc., the Obama administration has decided to uphold a ban requested by Apple of some of Samsung’s mobile products.

Michael Froman, the US trade representative, said in a statement that he had decided to allow the ban to take effect after “weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies and information from interested parties.”

The ban, which was ordered by the International Trade Commission, was issued in August after the agency determined that Samsung had violated two Apple patents.


The Obama administration could have vetoed the ruling, as it did in August with a ban ordered on Apple’s products.

Froman said the ban would cover Samsung’s older smartphones and tablets.

The decision, he said, would have little effect on the availability of Samsung products, because Samsung has been able to make changes to its newer products so that they avoid infringing on Apple’s patents.

In its case with the trade commission, Apple accused Samsung of violating four patents, including a design patent for the general look of an iPhone — a rectangle with rounded corners — and a utility patent for detecting when headphones are plugged into a device.

After a review, the commission said that Samsung had violated the patent regarding headphone detection and another patent covering the mechanics for touchscreen technology.

In a statement, Samsung said that it was disappointed by the decision.

“It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer,” the company said.

Apple declined to comment.

Apple and Samsung, which dominate smartphone sales worldwide, have been fighting each other with patent suits in the United States and other countries.

Last year, a California jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages after deciding that Samsung had violated the US company’s mobile patents. The amount was later reduced to $599 million.