South Korea has branded the United States as “protectionist” after the Obama administration over-ruled an import ban decision handed down by one of its own agencies.
The US International Trade Commission had sought to prevent Apple from importing a swathe of its iPad and iPhone models, including the iPhone 4, the iPad 3G and the iPad 2 3G after finding technology contained within the devices infringed on a single patent held by Samsung.
More recent iPhone and iPad models, including the iPhone 5, the iPad 4 and the iPad mini, were not included in the finding.
Apple and Samsung have a classic frenemy relationship, with the American electronics giant both reliant on Samsung for core products including processor fabrication and display technology, as well as competing with the Korean company in the tightly-fought handheld mobility space.
The companies have fought wide-ranging battles in courts across the globe since 2011, accusing one another of a range of intellectual property infringements, including the look and feel of devices, as well as infringements of core technology patents.
The overturning of the ban comes as Samsung prepares to face Apple in a US court later this week in yet another case to determine whether the Korean company has infringed on Apple’s technology patents. Apple is seeking to have devices containing the infringing technology banned from import into the US.
The Obama administration’s overturn of the iPhone and iPad ban received a strongly-worded rebuke from the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The statement expressed concerns about the impact the decision would have on global intellectual property rights. The Ministry also called on the US to behave in a fair and equitable manner regarding the upcoming court case.
Samsung originally sought the import ban on the basis of three alleged patent infringements, however the ITC only found the case for one infringement. Samsung has appealed the finding.