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Samsung investigated by European Union over patent lawsuits

News by Dan Seifert on Tuesday January 31, 2012.

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Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II

European Union regulators have announced that they will launch an investigation into Samsung's use of its patents in lawsuits against other companies. The regulators will look to see if Samsung has violated the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms that it agreed upon when it was originally issued the patents.

Samsung has used its telecommunication technologies patents in lawsuits against companies throughout 2011, the most notable of which being Apple. The patents were originally granted to Samsung back in 1998 under the agreement that they would be licensed out to competitors since they are essential to the development of communication technologies.

"The Commission will investigate, in particular, whether in doing so (seeking injunctions on patent infringements in 2011) Samsung has failed to honor its irrevocable commitment given in 1998 to the European Telecommunications Standards," said a commission representative.

The EU is not investigating Apple's use of its design patents in court, as many might have expected it to do, because Apple's patents and trademarks were not granted under FRAND terms like Samsung's were. The regulators say they will be looking to see if Samsung is using its market-leading position to abuse its power and pressure competitors. [via Reuters]

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Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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