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Obama rejects Samsung's patent ban against Apple

President Obama has stepped in and rejected Samsung's calls to have certain Apple products banned because of a patent infringement.

Samsung may have won a ban against certain Apple products in the US, but President Obama has stepped in and vetoed it, The Wall Street Journal reports. It's the first time since 1987 that a president has interfered with an order from the International Trade Commission (ITC).

The ban concerned the iPhone 4 and certain models of iPad. Samsung's complaint? It was another patent issue, of the kind bandied about by both Apple and Samsung last year, when the two duked it out in court. The president's intervention could have repercussions over this side of the pond too, and should hopefully stop companies trying to ban rivals' products every five minutes.

It's those standards-essential patents that are at issue again. Tech companies are supposed to license them on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms so that everyone works from the same starting point, and gadgets play nice with each other.

It's also "an important element of the Administration's policy of promoting innovation and economic progress," according to trade representative Michael Froman, who wrote the letter detailing Obama's veto.

According to Froman, the veto intends to stop companies like Samsung "gaining undue leverage" over their rivals.

Samsung won the ban in June. It wanted the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G, original iPad, and iPad 2 yanked from shelves because the cellular chipset they used infringed Samsung's patent.

The Korean company could still be in for some kind of recompense though. Froman writes: "My decision to disapprove this determination does not mean that the patent owner [Samsung] in this case is not entitled to a remedy. On the contrary, the patent owner may continue to pursue its rights through the courts."

Samsung told The Verge: "We are disappointed that the US Trade Representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the US ITC. The ITC's decision correctly recognised that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a licence."

"We applaud the Administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case," Apple told AllThingsD. "Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way."

What do you make of it? Should we have a ban on product bans? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.