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U.S. DoJ: Limit Sales Bans For The Good of Consumers

The Justice Department and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has urged the U.S. government to limit sales injunctions against products found to infringe on patents for the good of consumers.

"In an era where competition and consumer welfare thrive on interconnected, interoperable network platforms, the DOJ and USPTO urge the USITC to consider whether a patent holder has acknowledged voluntarily through a commitment to license its patents on F/RAND terms that money damages, rather than injunctive or exclusionary relief, is the appropriate remedy for infringement," the statement said.

"The USITC, may conclude, after applying its public interest factors, that exclusion orders (sales injunctions) are inappropriate."

The departments' joint policy statement follows the Federal Trade Commission ruling that Google must stop blocking the use of standard essential patents by competitors. The FTC stressed last year that bans on imports could cause "substantial harm" to consumers, competition and innovation.

The U.S. International Trade Commission, a federal agency that has the power to enforce bans on products shipping to the U.S., is currently considering a Samsung request to ban imports of Apple products.

The Justice Department and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office urged the ITC to consider if an import ban for products found to infringe on industry standard patents was in the public interest.

They said the ITC's approach "will be important to the continued vitality of the voluntary consensus standards-setting process and thus to competitive conditions and consumers in the United States."

During 2011, the smartphone industry alone spent $20 billion on patents to help protect products. For the first time in their history, spending by both Apple and Google on patents exceeded their spending on research and development of new products.

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  • xpeh
    I have a feeling that Apple isn't gonna be too happy about this.
    Reply
  • hoofhearted
    is currently considering a Samsung request to ban imports of Apple products

    I thought it was Apple that was trying to go to appeals to try and ban the Samsung Nexus?
    Reply
  • Warsaw
    The thing is, it was already banned on Samsung's part when Apple cried foul. Now when it's Apple's turn on the ban hammer, the DOJ and FTC are up in arms trying to do something. I'm not a fanboy of either, but I look at that pure fact and wonder why the sudden interest and not then?

    For the record as well, to me the whole "patent wars" is the silliest thing I've ever heard of.
    Reply
  • Uberragen21
    Finally, someone came up with an intelligent solution! Consumers are always the ones losing when a company pulls this crap. We can now benefit despite some stupid, lame-ass, minuscule, insignificant patent being infringed upon.
    Reply
  • dark_wizzie
    Apple's gonna sue the US Justice Department, lol.
    Reply
  • billiardicus
    AndrewMDGet a plane ticket right NOW and leave this country....
    If there's anything "this country stands for" it's freedom, including freedom of speech. Freedom means defending even to death the rights of others to do and say things that you don't like or agree with. It seems you would prefer to live in a country where people are not free. Perhaps you should consider leaving. I'm sure you'll find plenty of places to live where no one is allowed to criticize their government.
    Reply
  • BriboCN
    WarsawThe thing is, it was already banned on Samsung's part when Apple cried foul. Now when it's Apple's turn on the ban hammer, the DOJ and FTC are up in arms trying to do something. I'm not a fanboy of either, but I look at that pure fact and wonder why the sudden interest and not then?For the record as well, to me the whole "patent wars" is the silliest thing I've ever heard of.
    Although I agree with you the timing does seem somewhat suspicious. Remember all government agencies are pretty much slow to react and always a step behind. Patent wars at this point have been carried out to absurd levels and its well past time to reign it in.
    Reply
  • rantoc
    It will be interesting to see what happens, how "just" the US system is. Samsung got Banhammered in record time over patents and now when its Apples turn to be Banhammered over a patents this comes out... The only just thing to do is ban the infringing Apple products as well, otherwise the system ain't Just and that is at-least what it has in its name or is that by name only?

    From what i recall the Samsung patents are also real patents that Apple needs to even make Phones / Pads while Samsung only need to make small adjustments mainly to the design of the product to get the ban lifted, if so then Samsung have a way stronger case when it comes to ban the competing product and if its not its foul play and nothing else and it would only serve to prove that justice is fully purchasable in the US...

    In the meantime... "Apple paid just $713 million in taxes on its foreign earnings of $36.8 billion for the fiscal year" the rest seems to go to the judges!
    Reply
  • icemunk
    "the good customers" wow... Who gives a damn about individual innovations these days eh? It's all about global corporate conglomerates
    Reply
  • uglynerdman
    at this time in history the United states is more corrupt than any. this scares me.
    Reply