EU charges Samsung with abusing vital telecoms patent

BRUSSELS Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:30am IST

Samsung flags are set up at the main entrance to the Berlin fair ground before the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, August 28, 2012. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/Files

Samsung flags are set up at the main entrance to the Berlin fair ground before the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, August 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission charged Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) on Friday with abusing its dominant position in seeking to bar rival Apple (AAPL.O) from using a patent deemed essential to mobile phone use.

The Commission sent a "statement of objections" to the South Korean group, with its preliminary view that Samsung was not acting fairly.

"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," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in statement.

Apple and Samsung, the world's top two smartphone makers, are locked in patent disputes in at least 10 countries as they vie to dominate the lucrative mobile market and win over customers with their latest gadgets.

The filing of competition objections is the latest step in the Commission's investigation. After notifying Samsung in writing, the company will have a chance to reply and request a hearing before regulators.

If the Commission then concludes that the firm has violated the rules, it could impose a fine of up to 10 percent of the electronics firm's total annual turnover.

Technology companies are increasingly turning to the European Commission as the European Union's competition authority, to resolve their disputes. The Commission is also investigating Google (GOOG.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O).

In the case of Samsung, its standard-essential patents (SEPs) relate to the EU's 3G UMTS standard. When this was adopted in Europe, Samsung committed to license the patents fairly to competitors, the Commission said.

However, it began seeking an injunction in 2011 in various EU member states against Apple's use of these patents. The Commission opened its investigation in January 2012.

Samsung said it was studying the Commission's statement. It said it would cooperate fully and "firmly defend ourselves against any misconceived allegations".

"Samsung is confident that, in due course, the Commission will conclude that we have acted in compliance with European Union competition laws."

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop and Barbara Lewis; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and Mike Nesbit)

FILED UNDER:

Sony Cyber Attack

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage