EU antitrust authority investigates Samsung's use of patents against Apple

European Commission begins preliminary antitrust investigaton of Samsung's patent licensing terms

The European Union's top antitrust authority has launched an investigation into Samsung's use of patents to block sales of Apple products.

The news will be a boost to Apple in the ongoing legal battles between the two companies.

Samsung has sued Apple in five E.U. countries alleging infringement of its patents on 3G mobile technology. The European Commission will now consider whether the South Korean company is abusing the principle of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing in these cases.

FRAND licences allow companies to develop open standards for systems such as 3G mobile networks by sharing information and technology. Standards bodies typically require that companies participating in the development of a standard agree to license any relevant patents they hold on FRAND terms if their technology is essential to the standard. That's notably the case with the 3G Partnership Project, which maintains the standards for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) 3G mobile networks. The aim is to allow the industry to work smoothly and give more choice to consumers. Samsung and Apple are both 3GPP members.

Samsung brought its cases against Apple in retaliation for Apple's claims that Samsung was imitating its products. In a recent California court filing, Apple said: "Samsung's efforts to coerce Apple into tolerating Samsung's imitation have not been limited to counterclaims. Samsung has launched an aggressive, worldwide campaign to enjoin Apple from allegedly practicing Samsung's patents."

However on Friday Samsung replied: "Samsung has at all times remained committed to fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms for our wireless standards-related patents. We have received a request for information from the Commission and are cooperating fully. Note that this is a preliminary investigation and the European Commission has not yet determined whether to conduct a full investigation."

In a preliminary investigation the Commission requests information from the concerned parties. Such requests for information are standard procedure in antitrust investigations to allow the Commission to establish the relevant facts in a case. If there is sufficient evidence the the EU's competition rules have been broken a wider investigation will then follow.

If the Commission finds that Samsung is guilty of antitrust infringements, it could force Samsung to drop its legal cases against Apple in Europe, with possible repercussions on other cases worldwide. The Commission also has the power to impose fines.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicsregulationeuropean commissionsmartphonesSamsung ElectronicsMobile OSesmobilelegislationgovernmentApple

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?