Samsung should withdraw U.S. import ban requests as it did in Europe, Apple says

Apple made its request in documents filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission

Samsung Electronics should keep its commitment to consumers and withdraw its demands for bans on imports of Apple products in the United States as it did in Europe, Apple said in documents filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Wednesday.

Last month, Samsung said that it would withdraw all its requests for European sales bans on Apple products that Samsung alleges infringe on patents it deems essential to industry standards.

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A few days after Samsung withdrew the requests, the European Commission filed a formal objection to Samsung's efforts to seek bans on sales of Apple products over its use of standards-essential patents. In doing so, Samsung may have been abusing its dominant position and violating European Union antitrust rules, the commission said in a statement.

Although it was suggested that Samsung made its move in order to avoid antitrust action from the European Commission, the company at the time said it dropped the requests "in the interest of protecting consumer choice."

"Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace rather than in court," it stated at the time.

However, Samsung did not withdraw a request filed with the ITC seeking an import ban in the United States on Apple products based on patents declared standard-essential.

"Samsung ignores Samsung's own public statement, admitting that its injunction withdrawals in Europe served the interests of consumers," Apple said in a document filed with the ITC.

"Simply put, Samsung's pursuit of exclusionary relief on declared-essential patents in this investigation is equally as harmful to American consumers as Samsung's pursuit of injunctions on declared-essential patents in Europe was harmful to European consumers. Having withdrawn its injunction requests in Europe, Samsung should now withdraw its exclusion-order request here," Apple said.

Apple filed a notice of new facts with the ITC on the same day the European Commission announced Samsung might be violating European antitrust laws. Last Friday, however, Samsung filed a motion asking the ITC to strike Apple's notice because all parties were required to submit briefs no later than Dec. 10. Apple's latest filing is a response to Samsung's request to strike its notice of new facts.

A Samsung spokeswoman could not immediately respond to a request for comment on Apple's latest filing, but instead referred to Samsung's motion to strike.

"Samsung's decision to forego injunctive relief for certain declared-essential patents asserted against Apple in Europe has no bearing on any issue presently before this Commission, and there is nothing inconsistent with Samsung's decision to seek redress here," Samsung stated in the motion.

"Here, unlike in Europe, a full trial on the merits has been held and an extensive evidentiary record developed," Samsung said. The evidence demonstrated that Apple never had any intention of voluntarily entering into a license on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms for any of the asserted Samsung declared-essential patents, Samsung said.

"Samsung expects the evidence to be developed in Europe to support a similar conclusion," it added.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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