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Obama Administration Overrules Apple Import Ban

Apple's newest iPad is seen at the 5th Avenue Apple Store in New York, March 16, 2012.
The Obama administration has overturned a U.S. trade panel's ban on imports of some Apple iPads and older iPhones into the United States, dealing a setback to Apple's rival, Samsung.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman Saturday overturned the ban, which the U.S. International Trade Commission had announced June 4, saying some Apple products violated a patent owned by Samsung.

In a letter to ITC Chairman Irving Williamson, Froman said this policy decision was not an endorsement or a criticism of the commission's decision or analysis. He also said Samsung could continue to pursue its case through the courts.

This was the first time since 1987 that a U.S. administration had taken action against a product ban that the ITC had ordered. The ITC ban was to have taken effect August 4.

Apple welcomed Saturday's decision, while Seoul-based Samsung said it was disappointed.

The two companies have taken their disputes to courts around the globe.

Last year, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1 billion in damages for patent infringements. A judge later reduced the award.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.