EU accuses Samsung of ‘patent abuse’ in dealings with Apple
London: European Commission competition regulators are probing Samsung’s patent litigation tactics, accusing the South Korean mobile maker of abuse in its dealings with Apple.
The Commission''s ‘preliminary view’ follows the South Korean firm''s efforts to ban Apple products.
Investigators took issue with the fact that Samsung had based its claims on patents, which lie at the heart of industry-shared technologies, the BBC reports.
According to the report, at the core of the EU''s concerns is Samsung''s use of what are termed "standard-essential" patents, specifically innovations without which Apple devices could not offer 3G mobile data connections.
Firms register patents as being standard-essential because it is supposed to guarantee them an income from anyone who wants to make use of a commonly offered technology.
Other examples include the MPEG movie format and MP3 music standard.
According to the report, in return for being granted such status the company commits itself to licensing an invention under Frand rules, meaning the terms must be fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.
After Apple and Samsung failed to agree royalty rates for some of the Asian firm''s 3G-related patents, Samsung launched lawsuits in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
Bearing in mind Apple was not opposed to the principle of paying a fee but had rather disagreed about the amount being demanded, the Commission said that Samsung''s efforts to seek sales injunctions ‘harms competition’, the report said.