The Obama administration issued Apple a reprieve Saturday when U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman overturned a ban on some Apple iPhone and iPad products that the International Trade Commission had handed down a year ago for violating Samsung Electronics' patents. Froman, who said Samsung was free to pursue its case in the courts, based his ruling on the "effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers." Industry observers said the decision could discourage companies from taking their patent cases before the U.S. ITC. Some analysts added that Apple may gain some short-term sales because of the recent popularity of older iPhones.

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