European Commission to Investigate Samsung for Unfair Use of Mobile Telephony Patents


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 honour 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 behaviour amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).

In regards to the tit-for-tat between Apple and Samsung:

Apple claims that even though the iPhone was released back in 2007, it didn’t receive a licensing offer until after Samsung had already sued Apple. The exact terms of the offer have not been made public, but Apple classifies it as “manifestly not FRAND.”

A big government institution like the European Commission on Samsung’s back will weigh the company down. Better to offer its mobile telephony license to Apple on FRAND terms. Even then Apple will most likely continue going after Android OEMs, especially Samsung.

To me Android is much like Windows in that the look and feel has been copied heavily from Apple. Losing the lawsuit against Microsoft had a devastating effect on Apple. Microsoft continued implementing Apple-like elements into Windows and grew into an operating systems monopoly. To Apple history must not repeat itself in the mobile operating system space. There is one major difference between the old Apple and the new: a US$100 billion war chest.