In a letter written to the USITC Chairman Irving Williamson, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman disapproved the USITC's determination to issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order. The letter noted that the legislative history of 1337(j) lists several factors for consideration in the review, including public health, U.S. competition, production of competitive articles in the U.S., U.S. consumers, and foreign relations.
The letter also pointed to a January 2013 policy statement of the Justice Department and the U.S. PTO on standards-essential patents, which are subject to fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. According to Froman, that policy recognized that voluntary consensus standards are fundamental to the interoperability of many consumer products, including those in this case.
A dispute still remains, however, as to whether the patent in question is standards-essential. Further, the USITC found that Apple in this case did not act in "good faith" in regards to negotiations over the patent licensing. Samsung is thus free to continue to pursue other legal avenues, as Froman notes in the letter. A parallel Delaware case had previously been stayed pending the outcome of the USITC case.