News by Andrew Kameka on Friday December 21, 2012.
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The European Commission today announced that it has sent a Statement of Objection to Samsung on potential misuse of patents, a preliminary step that could lead to Samsung being forced to pay a sizable fine. The European Commission said that Samsung's attempt to get an injunction against Apple based on standard-essential patents (SEP's) related to 3G UMTS technology "amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules."
Samsung announced earlier this week that it would abandon its attempt to seek injunctions against Apple "in the interest of protecting consumer choice," but that action was too late to avoid the commission's ire. The European Commission acknowledges that injunctions are a "possible remedy for patent infringements," but not if the company accused of infringing on a standard essential patent is willing to negotiate a licensing deal at a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rate. Samsung is obligated to seek payment from Apple for the alleged patent violations, not attempt to block the sale of devices.
The European Commission began its investigation of Samsung in January of this year before informing the company of its preliminary view that its actions were an abuse of power. The international agency will give Samsung a chance to reply in writing and in person before making a final decision on the matter. If the commission concludes that Samsung abused its power, it could fine the Korean manufacturer up to 10 percent of its annual turnover; however, a fine of that magnitude may be excessive.source: European Commission
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.