This past weekend, the White House overturned a U.S. International Trade Commission decision for the first time since 1987. The veto invalidates the limited sales ban imposed on Apple mobile devices earlier this summer amid a long-running patent infringement dispute with Samsung.
In his explanation of the rare decision, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman noted the Obama administration's lingering doubts as to whether Samsung's standards essential patents were ever presented in a licensing proposal which reflected fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
"After extensive consultations with the agencies of the Trade Policy Staff Committee and the Trade Policy Review Group, as well as other interested agencies and persons, I have decided to disapprove the USITC's determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order in this investigation," Froman wrote. "This decision is based on my review 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."
According to InformationWeek, this case could significantly impact the current dynamic of trade relations between the U.S. and South Korea. Samsung's stock value lost nearly 1 percent of its total value following announcement of the White House veto, and Korean officials are intent on investigating whether this maneuver could be a case of preferential treatment for an American firm.