The Obama administration on Tuesday approved a US ban on the import and sale of some Samsung devices, backing Apple in a trade and patent battle with its South Korean rival.
The US Trade Representative Michael Froman, who had 60 days to reject the ban after it was issued by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in August this year, said on Tuesday he would not exercise his veto right over the ban, stating there are no legal grounds to do so.
"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.
However, earlier this year he overturned a similar ban after Apple was found to have infringed on a Samsung patent.
It has not been specified which gadgets will have to disappear from the shelves of American stores. It is believed, however, that Samsung has design work-arounds in place in case of the newer devices that have already been approved by the ITC.
Technology for detection of headphone jacks and the way touchscreens are operated have been said to be among the technologies in breach of Apple’s patents.
"We are disappointed by the US Trade Representative's decision to allow the exclusion order issued by the US International Trade Commission. It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumer," Samsung’s spokesperson said.
Apple, who is now world number two in the smartphone market after being overtaken by Samsung, filed a complaint against its rival in mid-2011.
It is believed Apple is now lobbying behind the scenes to push for a larger number of devices to be banned, while Samsung is trying to achieve the exact opposite.
In August, the USTR overturned a proposed ban on some older models of Apple iPhones and iPads which had been found to infringe Samsung patents. Patents involved were standard essential patents, while the patents covered by Tuesday's decision were not.
Standard essential patents are central to the products at issue and are supposed to be licensed broadly and inexpensively. US antitrust authorities have argued that infringing on them should trigger requirements for license payments but not import or sales bans.