Following an import ban on older Apple devices, Verizon attorney Randal Milch has published an open letter in The Wall Street Journal asking the U.S. ITC to rescind a decision reached in an Apple vs. Samsung patent dispute. Per the dispute, the ITC determined Apple infringed on Samsung Patent No. 7,706,384, leading to a ban of iPhone 4 and iPad 2 devices. Granted, they’re older Apple technology, but Milch argues consumers will suffer because of the decision, calling the enforcement, which could go into effect by Aug. 5, unwarranted.
Milch isn’t taking a position on Apple or Samsung’s side in the dispute, but merely lamenting on the patent industry itself. The bans were brought against Apple products compatible with AT&T’s network, so it ultimately wouldn’t affect Verizon at all. But Milch argues that a ban could potentially lead to further patent abuse, which we’ve seen a lot of over the past several months.
“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,” Milch said. “The fact that the ITC’s intellectual-property-dispute docket has nearly quadrupled over 15 years only raises the stakes further. Smartphone patent litigation accounts for a substantial share of that increase.”
Before the ban goes into effect, Milch suggests President Obama and his administration intervene, highlighting three specific scenarios when a decision should be rescinded: when a company isn’t using the patent being infringed, when a company has agreed to license the patent on reasonable terms or when the infringement itself is unimportant to the product overall. As MacRumors points out, Apple’s infringement falls into the third category.
Although the products are old, and Apple has new products on the horizon, a ban could go into effect in a matter of days.