By John Paczkowski, European Commission Investigating Samsung's Patent Claims Against Apple via All Things D.
An interesting new twist in the bitter intellectual property battle between Apple and Samung. In a recent proposed amendment to its counter-counterclaims against the Korean company, Apple claims that the European Commission is investigating Samsung to determine if its assertion of standards-essential patents against the iPhone maker violates competition laws.
A bit of background: Some of Samsung's counterclaims against Apple are based upon patents essential to the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard (UMTS), patents that it has pledged to license under "Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory" (FRAND) terms. Apple has argued that this is bad business and a breach of Samsung's FRAND commitment. Now it seems the European Commission has taken an interest in determining whether that's true or not.
From Apple's proposed amendment:
Samsung has launched an aggressive, worldwide campaign to enjoin Apple from allegedly practicing Samsung's patents. Samsung has sued Apple for infringement and injunctions in no fewer than eight countries outside the United States. Indeed, Samsung's litigation campaign and other conduct related to its Declared-Essential Patents is so egregious that the European Commission recently has opened an investigation to determine whether Samsung's behavior violates EU competition laws.
Now, as FOSS Patents points out, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) has not yet officially announced the investigation to which Apple refers. But if the company feels comfortable mentioning it in legal filings, one is surely in the offing.
And that's truly bad news for Samsung, particularly if the inquiry finds merit in Apple's claims. If the DG COMP determines that Samsung's behavior is anticompetitive, it can slap the company with nasty fines and remedies and potentially force it to withdraw many of its claims against Apple.
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