updated 03:43 pm EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
Asks for 'fair and reasonable' decision on possible ban of Samsung goods
The South Korean government has issued a statement expressing worries about the Obama administration veto of an ITC ban on some Apple products. The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy says that the decision could harm Samsung's patent rights, and that it will be paying close attention on Friday, when the ITC is expected to rule on a possible ban of some of Samsung's Galaxy devices. "We hope to see a fair and reasonable decision on the matter," the ministry states.
Like LG or Hyundai, Samsung is deeply integral to the Korean economy, with a presence in many different sectors. The news of the veto knocked $1 billion off Samsung's market value in early Monday trading, even though the Apple products that would've been subject to a ban are older, cheaper, and likely to be taken off the market next month anyway.
Until this weekend, no US administration had vetoed an ITC ruling since 1987. The latest action and South Korea's response could escalate the Apple v. Samsung dispute into a political one, considering that the Obama administration might be seen as following bias instead of the rule of law. In issuing the veto, US Trade Representative Michael Froman cited the possibility of "undue leverage" by patent holders as one of the main reasons; to be fair, the ITC may have to decide against banning Samsung products as well.
A free trade agreement between the US and South Korea was signed over a year ago. The latter party may thus not have much flexibility in economic matters, especially in light of its dependence on the US for defense against North Korea.