EU investigates Samsung over patents

European Commission launches investigation into whether Samsung has abused patent rights

Tags: European Commission (EC)Samsung Corporation
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EU investigates Samsung over patents The EC has formally opened an investigation into whether Samsung has abused its patents in the mobile sector.
By  Mark Sutton Published  February 1, 2012

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Samsung, over whether the electronics titan has failed to give fair usage of its patents to competitors.

The investigation is focused on whether Samsung has abused its patents and failed to meet a commitments to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), to give fair access to patents it holds in mobile telephony that are essential to open standards.

The EC action is in part based on Samsung's ongoing legal actions against competitors in Europe, where it claims competitors have infringed on its patent rights.

The EC is seeking to determine if Samsung's actions constitute restricting access to patents that are essential to open standards relating to mobile telephony in Europe, distorting competition in those markets.

As per normal fair trade practices, patent holders are expected to commit to fair usage policies for patents that are essential to standards-based technology, allowing everyone, even competitors, the right to use the patents in exchange for reasonable fees, usually described as ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory' or FRAND terms.

Samsung has a commitment to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) from 1998, to licence patents around 3G technologies on a FRAND basis. The EC investigation will focus on whether Samsung's legal actions against competitors alleging patent infringement, violate that commitment.

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