In a shocking yet not-so-shocking move, President Obama on Saturday vetoed an International Trade Commission (ITC)’s patent ruling that would have banned the importation of some older Apple devices.
In June Apple suffered its first loss in a patent case with Samsung when the ITC ruled patent violation and called for an import ban on all Apple devices using the patent. This would have eventually made it impossible to buy an official, new iPhone 3, 3GS, and 4 as well as the first-, second-, and third-generation iPads in the U.S. Though President Obama had a period of 60 days to veto the important band on public policy grounds, he was expected to let the ruling stay – after all, an ITC ruling has not been vetoed in decades.
According to Forbes, the decision to veto the import ban was made in part to maintain competition in the economy and to curb the ever-heightening patents battle.
Though the veto can be seen as a low blow to the underdog in these patent battles, it should also be taken as a good omen for consumers. As it stands, the U.S. patent system hinders technological advancement by limiting the way companies can adopt technological innovations started by others for far too long. Today, with innovation growing at rates exponentially faster than in recent history, new technologies patented by one company will often not become available to others until the technology is obsolete. We need to update our patent system to allow for shorter-term patents. This way new technologies can no longer be monopolized by one company or another for such a long time, limiting our choices as consumers.
What do you think of Apple’s seemingly endless patent battles? Are you happy to see that these devices will still be available on the U.S. market? Are you disappointed to see the patent giant survive this blow?
Innovation without profits also stifles innovation… agree that the term should be reduced, but not so much that profit no longer drives innovation!
Great post~! Thanks Lauren.
It seems as though Obama got good advice on this one. Of course – all decisions regarding patents should be case by case.
Absolutely, this is stifling innovation in our country. In Europe, Asia and even Kuwait, consumers have access to devices we typically don’t see in the states for two to five years. Not to mention the annoyance in knowing that in other countries, customers can easily swap out SIM cards and use unlocked phones, but here we can’t unlock our own devices – whether or not we have them on contract or we’ve purchased them! We should be able to easily access competition, we should be able to use whatever device we want with whatever carrier we want, and manufacturers need to stop hindering technological advancement. It’s embarrassing.
Or is it that just is a new evidence of protectionism against “foreigners”, applying and enforcing patents and licenses when they protect US company “to defend fair trade”, and nuking them when they go against the interests of the same US companies, pretending this is to “defend innovation”?
This is a 2-speeds system, where US companies can expect to win in any case…
C’est le libre échange à la façon des US … : tout pour moi !
Go Obama, getting tired of this Apple and Samsung patent battles.
Not surprising the countries where the cases are, are looking after their tax revenue.