LONDON – The European Commission has announced the "preliminary view" that Samsung's pursuit of injunctions against Apple in the courts of various European countries over alleged patent infringement is an abuse of its patent position.
The European Commission said that while injunctive relief is appropriate in some circumstances, in a case where patents in question are standard-essential patents (SEPs) and where a licensee is willing to negotiate a license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, it is not.
The Samsung SEPs in question relate to the 3G UMTS standard for mobile wireless communications. Reportedly Samsung has announced it will withdraw from legal cases based on its 3G patents.
"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," said Joaquin Almunia, Commission vice president in charge of competition policy, in a statement.
The European Commission did not indicate when it would give a final ruling in the case. "Samsung is confident that, in due course, the Commission will conclude that we have acted in compliance with European Union competition laws," a Reuters account quoted Samsung as saying.
Perhaps Samsung went for a pre-emptive strike here, but thankfully not all people can be fooled. Its high time these responsible companies sort out differences in a mutually agreeable manner and concentrate of innovation and product differentiation.