Samsung Being Investigated for Possible Antitrust Practices

Back in April of this year, Apple filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The Korean manufacturer responded with a counter-infringement lawsuit, and the two companies have been in and out of courtrooms ever since.

In their latest battle, Samsung attempted to bar Apple’s products from the European Union, once again based on patent infringement. But instead of winning an injunction, Samsung caught the eye of the European Commission…

The patents that Samsung has been trying to use against Apple fall under FRAND jurisdiction. This means that Samsung is obligated to offer Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory licensing terms for the patents to its competition, including Apple.

And the fact that Samsung has been trying to assert its FRAND patents against Apple in court has caused the European Commission to open an investigation into the Korean company regarding possible antitrust practices.

Even if the EC’s query doesn’t yield any results, it could still eliminate Samsung’s only ammunition in its ongoing patent war with the Cupertino company. Apple can (and likely will) use the investigation to fight future infringement lawsuits from Samsung:

“Indeed, Samsung’s litigation campaign and other conduct related to its Declared-Essential Patents is so egregious that the European Commission has recently opened an investigation to determine whether Samsung’s behavior violates EU competition laws. Apple brings these Counterclaims In Reply to halt Samsung’s abuse and protect consumers, the wireless telecommunications industry, and Apple from further injury.”

So for those keeping score, Apple has won 3 injunctions against the Korean handset-maker in the last two months. And Samsung? Well, Samsung’s chances of winning any type of patent-related injunction against Apple seem to be quickly dwindling.