BSA Tech Companies Rally Against ITC Product Bans

Posted by at 10:55 am on July 29, 2013

The BSA — a group representing technology companies like Oracle, Intel, and Microsoft — has taken a position against banning products based on infringements of standards-essential patents, a Wall Street Journal article notes. The move appears to have been spurred by a possible ITC ban of some older AT&T-model iPhones and iPads. Samsung scored the ruling in a complaint against Apple.

Intel is among the parties scheduled to testify in front of a US Senate hearing this week. The hearing will also be attended by companies like Qualcomm, a member of the Innovation Alliance, which is urging that the ban against Apple products be enforced. Vetoing the ban would upend decades of settled expectations, it says, and hurt capacity to enforce patents.

The BSA’s stance has some support from antitrust officials at the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, who worry that companies are using patents as competitive weapons, instead of defending against legitimate intellectual theft. Should the Obama administration’s Trade Representative — Michael Froman — not issue a veto, the ban against the older Apple devices will take effect August 4th. No veto of an ITC ruling has been issued since 1987, and the ban is unlikely to hurt either Apple or AT&T that much, since Apple is expected to discontinue the affected products when it rolls out new ones in September.

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