Verizon Urges Obama to Overturn iPhone Ban

In a recent development, the International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a prohibition against Apple, preventing the importation of older iPhone and iPad models that utilize AT&T’s network. This decision came after it was determined that these devices infringed on a Samsung patent. The models affected by this ruling are the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, and the first two generations of the iPad.

This ITC decision is conclusive, leaving Apple with the sole option of seeking a presidential veto to circumvent the ban. The enforcement of this ban is set to commence on August 5th. Although the iPhone 3G and 3GS are no longer actively sold by Apple, the iPhone 4 continues to see robust sales figures.

The impending ban has raised concerns not only for Apple but for other stakeholders as well. In response, Verizon’s attorney, Randal Milch, has made a public appeal through an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, urging President Obama to veto the ITC’s decision. Milch highlights that while the ban specifically targets AT&T-based iPhone models, the broader implications for public policy warrant presidential intervention.

If no action is taken by the administration, the ban will take effect on August 5. The nature of high-tech products involves the potential infringement of thousands of patents. If the ITC identifies infringement of even a single patent, it has the authority to halt the importation of the offending product.

Unfortunately, the ITC does not have the capability to impose lesser penalties, which ultimately harms consumers when such drastic measures are unnecessary.

The stakes are exceedingly high in patent litigation at the ITC, where the sole remedy is the exclusion of products from the U.S. market. The significant increase in the ITC’s intellectual-property-dispute cases over the past 15 years only exacerbates the situation.

Whether President Obama will choose to intervene remains uncertain, especially considering that the last instance of a U.S. President overturning an ITC decision was by Ronald Reagan in 1987. Milch points out that the rarity of presidential vetoes in recent decades highlights the unchecked power of the ITC’s import-ban authority.

Apple has recently filed a motion arguing that upholding the ITC ban would position the ITC as an outlier both internationally and domestically, undermining the commitments made under the FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) terms to standard-setting organizations.


Linda is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful and engaging content to Apple enthusiasts. With a deep understanding of Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, Linda offers readers valuable tips, reviews, and news updates. His articles reflect a genuine love for technology and a commitment to keeping the Apple community informed. Linda’s clear and approachable writing style makes complex topics accessible, ensuring that every reader can stay up-to-date with the latest in the Apple world.