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August 4, 2013

Obama administration overrules Apple import ban

iPad 2 and iPhone 4 will be sold in US after Obama administration removed a ban on Apple imports.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Apple has applauded the Obama administration after a ban on sales of certain Apple products in the US was lifted.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman overruled a decision made by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in June, which banned the imports of older iPads and iPhones because Apple had violated Samsung’s patents on wireless technology.

In a letter to the US International Trade Commission, Froman wrote that the administration feared a ban would give patent holders ‘undue leverage’ over competitors when attempting to license new technologies.

He also made clear that while he disapproved the ITC decision, Samsung may still be entitled to damages in the future.

In a statement, Apple said: "We applaud the administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way."

Samsung said: "The ITC’s decision correctly recognised that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a licence."

Newer and more popular devices such as the iPad mini and iPhone 5 were not covered in the potential ban, which had been scheduled to go into effect August 4.

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Last year, a federal court ruled that Samsung owed Apple $1bn in damages for infringing Apple patents. But the judge later struck $450m from the verdict, ruling the jurors miscalculated. The case continues for a rematch in the appeal court.

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