European Union Decides to Probe Samsung in Search of Patent Abuse

Paul Lilly

The European Commission today announced it has opened a formal investigation into Samsung's use of patents and whether the handset maker is running afoul of EU antitrust rules. Samsung's business practices are being examined "as a matter of priority," the Commission said , though it did not say when it expects to complete its investigation.

Samsung had previously sought injunctions against Apple in various parts of the European Union based on alleged infringements of certain patents as the two sides squabble around the globe. But that decision may have backfired, as it prompted the current investigation into whether Samsung "has abusively used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets."

As a report in The Wall Street Journal explains it, so-called 'standard essential' patents are different than regular patents in that they have to be licensed on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory basis known as FRAND. Cases of infringement can't lead to injunctions or high royalty payments, WSJ says.

Samsung claims it "has not received any formal notice and is unable to discuss the matter at this time."

Image Credit: stock.xchng (thoroe)

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