The Barack Obama administration on Tuesday upheld a ban on some old mobile devices manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co., drawing another round of protest from the South Korean tech giant in a heated patent war with Apple Inc. of the United States.
Acting on behalf of President Barack Obama, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced the decision to prohibit Samsung from exporting a set of older models including Galaxy S, Galaxy SII, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 to the United States.
In August, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) imposed a ban on imports of those products made by Samsung, saying they infringed on Apple's patents.
"After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow the Commission's determination," Froman said in a statement.
But the ruling will have limited impact on Samsung's business in the U.S., as Samsung "has been able to make changes to its products so that they avoid infringing the two Apple patents at issue in this case," he added.
Froman emphasized his organization ignored the countries of origin in taking the step.
"The nationality of the companies involved played no role in the review process," he said. "Both Samsung and Apple are important contributors to the US economy and help advance innovation and technological progress."
Samsung, however, said it can't accept the decision.
"It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer," the company said in a statement.
Samsung has accused the Obama administration of adopting a "protectionist" policy.
In its previous move to favor Apple in August, the Obama government overturned an ITC ruling against the Silicon Valley firm that would have banned the sale of certain iPads and iPhones in the U.S. market. It was the first time since 1987 a U.S. president has vetoed an import ban ordered by the ITC.
Tuesday's decision not to veto the ITC ruling against Samsung was widely expected because the patents at issue are different from the earlier dispute.