South Korea probes Samsung over Apple antitrust complaints

SEOUL Thu Sep 6, 2012 11:26am IST

The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at the company's headquarters in Seoul July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at the company's headquarters in Seoul July 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean regulators are investigating complaints filed by Apple Inc that Samsung Electronics Co is abusing its dominant position in wireless technology, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said on Thursday.

Rivals Apple and Samsung are locked in patent disputes in 10 countries, as they vie for market share in the booming mobile industry.

Apple won a landmark victory last month after a U.S. jury found the South Korean firm had copied key features of Apple's iPhone, awarding Apple $1.05 billion in damages. The jury decided Apple had not violated any of Samsung's patents.

The FTC is investigating whether Samsung is unfairly competing in the market by abusing its dominance in wireless technology patents. Apple filed its complaints earlier this year, said an FTC official, who is not authorized to talk to the media.

European Union regulators have also been investigating Samsung for possible breaches of antitrust rules by accusing rivals of infringing its technology patents.

Samsung pledged in 1998 to license its 3G patents to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Samsung said it has at all times met its obligations to the fair licensing of its telecoms standards-related patents.

Apple was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim)