A day after it was announced that the European Commission is planning to charge Samsung with an Antitrust Case, the commission has finally made it formal. The body announced that they’ve sent a formal complaint to the company with regards to the potential misuse of standard-essential patents.
According to the European Union’s executive body, the South Korean tech giant abused its dominant market position to gain a foothold on legal disputes against Apple. Samsung, on the other hand, tried to avoid the commission’s litigation by pulling out its patent infringement case against the Cupertino-based company.
European Commission on Samsung’s Misuse of Standard Essential Patents
The commission’s complaint has something to do with Samsung’s use of declared wireless patents. These patents were said to be asserted against Apple in various EU countries and internationally, in a bid to garner sales bans like Apple’s iPhone. As stated by the European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia:
Intellectual property rights are an important cornerstone of the single market. However, such rights should not be misused when they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike. When companies have contributed their patents to an industry standard and have made a commitment to license the patents in return for fair remuneration, then the use of injunctions against willing licensees can be anti-competitive.
On the other hand, the Korean company dropped its suits against Apple, which involves the industry-essential patents in five European countries last Tuesday. However, a number of cases still remain active.
In a separate statement, Samsung explained how they had no choice but to commit to legal action against Apple. That’s because the iPhone maker was allegedly unwilling to negotiate licensing agreements for the patents in question.
Samsung has been and remains committed to licensing our standard essential patents (SEP) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Samsung had no choice but to seek injunctions based on SEPs due to Apple’s unwillingness to enter into good-faith negotiations and to defend ourselves against Apple which sued us first.
No injunctions have been granted against Apple in any EU Member State and we already decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our SEPs pending in European courts. We will continue to fully cooperate with the Commission and are confident that in due course the Commission will conclude that we have acted in full compliance with EU competition laws.
For now, the European Commission will have to wait for Samsung to review the complaint and offer a response.