Verizon Turns To The President In A Bid To Prevent Upcoming iPhone Ban

Obama

Verizon Wireless has turned to President Obama as it seeks intervention against an import on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 that is set to take affect in less than two weeks.

The International Trade Commission ordered the ban back in June after finding that Apple’s older iOS devices infringed a patent owned by Samsung, but Apple is still awaiting a decision on its appeal. The Cupertino company has already asked the ITC to postpone the move, and now Verizon has stepped in to help.Verizon Turns To The President In A Bid To Prevent Upcoming iPhone Ban

Verizon’s head lawyer, Randal Milch, published a plea in The Wall Street Journal this week that calls upon the White House to intervene. Milch argues that the patent at the heart of the dispute isn’t a significant one, particularly when involved with a smartphone, which could conceivably be covered by more than 250,000 patents.

Milch now wants the White House to step in and prevent the ban from going into affect on August 5. If it doesn’t, Apple will no longer be permitted to import the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 into the United States, and this would essentially wipe out the company’s cheaper, entry-level product offerings.

In other cases like this, the ITC has allowed companies time to tweak their products to avoid infringement, but that wasn’t an option offered to Apple.

The move will “sweep away an entire segment of Apple’s product offerings,” Apple told the ITC earlier this month. “Apple will lose not only sales of its iPhone 4 (GSM) and iPad 2 3G (GSM) products but also the opportunity to gain new smartphone and tablet customers who otherwise would have purchased these entry-level Apple devices.”

But Apple and Verizon shouldn’t hold out much hope for intervention from the president. GigaOM reports that although Obama can intervene during the 60 days it takes an ITC ban to take affect, none have done so since President Reagan vetoed an import ban in 1987.

What’s interesting in all of this is that Verizon is not directly impacted by the ban, because it does not affect CDMA devices, such as Verizon’s iPhone 4. In fact, the ban could help Verizon, because it means it could become the only U.S. carrier offering the cheapest iPhone.

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  • MisterL30N

    Hi, Killian. I’m not sure if you were aware, but there is more than one CDMA carrier within the United States. Sprint, for example, is one of the leading carriers just under Verizon with the most CDMA sales and coverage. I also work for a regional cellular carrier known as nTelos Wireless, and we also carry the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5. We are a CDMA network as well. Many other companies that specialize in prepaid such as Cricket Wireless, Virgin Mobile, and FRAWG Wireless also carry the iPhone 4, and they are CDMA networks. Verizon would not be the only company that would see a difference in sales due to AT&T not having full opportunity to sell the iPhone 4. Although I could see how this would be something to get excited over for some, I personally am not pleased to hear about this. In my opinion, the iPhone performs its best on AT&T’s GSM network. Speeds are faster, and coverage is more reliable. This again is my own personal experience and preference, but I am hoping that some form of intervention is introduced soon to stop the ban of import on the GSM iPhone 4.

  • nvettese

    Why is Apple so upset? They are constantly pushing for Samsung products to be banned, and they push hard. If they are upset that Samsung uses their patents, and wants them enforced, shouldn’t they accept the same fate when they are found to do the same?

  • DJBabyBuster

    Seems kinda moot considering that the 5s, a full three generations beyond the 4, will be coming out soon. Not to mention the much rumored about budget iPhone, which would address the concern of getting the cheapest apple phone.

    Why would anybody even still want a 3 year old iPhone 4?

  • Gregory Walsh

    So what is the point of patent laws? If you big enough and can make a lot of noise they do not apply to you. Such a joke

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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