The European Commission has announced that they will begin investigating Samsung for possibly breaking EU antitrust rules by refusing to provide fair licensing for patents essential to implementing 3G into mobile devices.
The investigation follows numerous lawsuits filed by Samsung against Apple and others over unauthorized use of the 3G patents, and is partly centered around 1998 promise that Samsung made to license the patents under FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory). Apple accuses Samsung of copying the design of its popular devices while the South Korean company counters that the US computing giant violated its patents.
The EU has issued the following statement, “In 2011, 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 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)”.
FOSS Patents points out that the commission could be acting prior to Samsung winning and enforcing a ruling on one of the patents.