EU investigating Samsung for antitrust

John Moe Jan 31, 2012

Well, here’s an interesting plot twist in the patent wars. EU authorities are trying to figure out if Samsung’s fondness for filing lawsuits, especially against Apple, constitutes anti-trust violations. In other words, is Samsung trying to drive Apple out of the market by filing so many patent lawsuits.

I had always figured that most of what Samsung was doing was a preemptive strike against Apple or at least retaliation because we’ve seen Apple really racking up the filed lawsuits in recent months. But in this case it’s Samsung who’s getting the raised eyebrows from European honchos.

CNET quotes the EC, the executive arm of the EU, as considering that Samsung:

“sought injunctive relief in various Member States’ courts against competing mobile device makers based on alleged infringements of certain of its patent rights which it has declared essential to implement European mobile telephony standards.”
“The Commission will investigate, in particular, whether in doing so Samsung has failed to honor its irrevocable commitment given in 1998 to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to license any standard essential patents relating to European mobile telephony standards on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms,” the EC went on to say in a statement today. “The Commission will examine whether such behavior amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).”

This is a full blown investigation and it follows several smaller investigations of Samsung by the EU over the course of the last several months.   

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