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FTC to ITC: Limit Use of Import Bans, Please

Article Comments  6  

Jun 7, 2012, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The Federal Trade Commission has suggested to the U.S. International Trade Commission that it limit the use of standards essential patents to block product imports. The recommendation comes as the FTC eyes cases brought against Microsoft and Apple by Motorola (now part of Google). The FTC believes that import bans may hurt competition in the industry. Smartphone companies are in the middle of a protracted war over intellectual property, with lawsuits pending or proceeding between players such as Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Microsoft, RIM, HTC, and others. Litigants often ask the ITC to ban competitors from importing products that they believe infringe on their patents. Last month, the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE were held up at the border thanks to an ITC-levied exclusion order. The phones' wait at the border forced Sprint to delay the launch of the EVO 4G LTE, and AT&T was left without One X inventory to sell for several weeks.

more info at BusinessWeek »

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Jun 7, 2012, 4:30 PM

Not Sure I Agree.


This valiant effort by the FTC seems rather sidestepping. I'm not entirely sure this will solve. I look at it as more of a bandaid and overlooking the issue at hand. While I respect what may or may not be valid points on the part of patent holders, I feel the FTC should focus more on pressuring the patent office to review patents and decide what is relevant to retaining intellectual property vs a common standard in which the whole basis of technology benefits from said operations. Let the holders have first crack at what part of the operation would most benefit themselves and forfeit the rest for standard adoption.

John B.
Personally, I think patents in general have outlived their usefulness. They were once a tool for inventors to protect themselves while they try to bring a new product to market. Now, things are much faster, and patents are simply used to try to make...

Jun 7, 2012, 2:48 PM

Apple is the worst abuser

If they just limited Apple's use of import ban, it would have the same effect. Apple to import ban is what Ed McMahon was to junkmail.
I think you missed the point of what the FTC is requesting. They want to limit the use "standard essential" patent bans. These patents are required to be licensed under FRAND terms. Device makers have to use these no matter what, hence making them ...
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