South Koreans concerned over Samsung ruling

THE SOUTH Korean government yesterday expressed concerns about the decision by the United States to overrule a sales ban of some Apple models.

The Obama administration vetoed a US trade panel’s ban on the import and sale of some older iPhones and iPads, reversing a ruling that had favoured South Korea’s Samsung Electronics over Apple in their long-running patent battle.

The move was vehemently criticised by the South Korean media as “protectionism”.

“We express concerns about the negative impact that such a decision would have on the protection of patent rights,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy said in a statement.

The ministry called on the US trade body and the Obama administration to make “fair and reasonable decisions” as Samsung faces a verdict on Friday as to whether some of its phones and tablets infringed on Apple’s patents and should be banned from imports into the US. The US International Trade Commission in June banned the import and sale of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G distributed by AT&T, saying the devices infringed on one patent owned by the South Korean electronics giant.

Samsung had also accused Apple of infringing on three other patents, but the ITC found that Apple did not infringe those. A Samsung spokesman said yesterday the electronics giant in July appealed the ITC decision on the three patents.

Shares in Samsung dropped 0.9 per cent after Obama’s veto.