Editor in Chief
- Jan 5, 2011
It looks like the European Union is wading into the patent wars to see if they can put a stop to things, and they are doing it by going after Samsung first. While some could easily argue that Samsung is the victim in many of the patent wars, especially when it comes to Apple's attacks, that doesn't mean they aren't culpable in some ways. Regardless of which side you choose to take, (or no side at all), the EU feels that charges will need to be filed against Samsung. This is because they were seeking product bans in court against Apple in a fight over some FRAND essentials patents, which you are not allowed to do under EU patent law. Here's a quote with some additional detail,
EU regulators are poised to accuse Samsung of breaking competition rules in filing patent lawsuits against rival Apple, in the EU's first formal challenge to the consumer electronic industry's patent wars.
"We will issue a statement of objections very soon," the European Union's competition chief Joaquin Almunia said on Thursday, referring to the Commission's charge sheet.
Technology companies are increasingly turning to the European Commission as the EU's competition authority, to resolve their disputes, with the EC also investigating Google and Microsoft.
Apple and Samsung, the world's top two smartphone makers, are locked in patent disputes in at least 10 countries as they vie to dominate the lucrative mobile market and win over customers with their latest gadgets.
The filing of competition objections is the latest step in the Commission's investigation. After notifying Samsung in writing the company will have a chance to reply and request a hearing before regulators.
If the Commission then concludes that the firm did violate the rules, it could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of the electronic firm's total annual turnover.
Other current cases under investigation by the EC involve Google-owned phone maker Motorola Mobility, Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft has also complained about Google while Google has complained about MOSAID, a so-called patent enforcement company which makes money by licensing the use of acquired patents.
Earlier in the week, we saw reports that Samsung was dropping several of their European patent infringement lawsuits against Apple. We decided not to share that story because we caught wind of some intel that the reason wasn't altogether altruistic, so we wanted to see how things developed. It turns out we were correct to wait. The reason that Samsung dropped some of their lawsuits against Apple was because they knew that The EU was going to be bringing charges against them soon for this.
One could argue that Samsung was just trying to defend itself in any way it could, but the reality is they likely did violate the European laws regarding FRAND patent lawsuits. We will keep you informed as this continues to develop.