As a result of one of the many on going court battles between Apple and Samsung, the ITC issued a ban on the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and iPad 1 and 2 that is set to come down on August 5th. The 3G, 3GS and original iPad aren’t necessarily things to worry about, however the iPhone 4, that is something many people still buy. This ban only affects the AT&T variant of the iPhone 4, but Verizon doesn’t really care, it thinks something much bigger is at stake here – what is best for the consumer. There is one thing, though, that could get Apple around this ban; and that is a presidential veto.
Unless the administration intervenes, the ban could be in effect by August 5. High-tech products can implicate thousands of patents. If the ITC finds that a product infringes even a single one, it can stop the product at the border. But that’s basically it. The commission can’t levy much in the way of a lesser penalty. In the end the consumer suffers when the use of such an enforcement tool is unwarranted…What we have warned is that patent litigation at the ITC-where the only remedy is to keep products from the American public-is too high-stakes a game for patent disputes. The fact that the ITC’s intellectual-property-dispute docket has nearly quadrupled over 15 years only raises the stakes further.
Apple does make a lot of good arguments as well, but Verizon felt that it too had to step up and make an argument. Apple has even pointed out that the ITC, by its very nature, is supposed to be to protect American companies from unfair foreign competition, therefore making this ruling simply counterintuitive. The last presidential veto on such a ban was handed down by Ronald Reagan in 1987, so history is certainly not on Apple and Verizon’s side here. However, it is still unknown what President Obama will do on the matter. For the consumer’s sake, I hope a precedent can be set, and the ban not enforced.
What do you think? Are you for or against the ban? What’s the defense to either side? Let us know in the comments, or tweet me @TiP_Kyle.