The White House on Saturday over turned an U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) decision that would have blocked Apple from importing several older gadgets, including the iPhone 4.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, an Obama appointee, issued a letter explaining the decision to make such a rare intervention in a trade dispute.
"I have decided to disapprove the USITC's determination to issue an exclusion order and cease and desist order in the investigation," Froman wrote.
Two months ago, the ITC ruled that some older Apple gadgets violated a Samsung patent that covers a method for transmitting data.
In a statement, Apple said, "We applaud the administration for standing up for innovation in this landmark case. Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system."
Samsung said, "We are disappointed that the U.S. trade representative has decided to set aside the exclusion order issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC's decision correctly recognized that Samsung has been negotiating in good faith and that Apple remains unwilling to take a license."