EU to file antitrust charges against Samsung


The European Union will “very soon” charge Samsung over its practice of filing injunctions against Apple in Europe, Reuters reported Thursday. The news arrives after Samsung dropped all of its injunctions and injunction requests against Cupertino, California-based Apple’s gadgets in Europe and following a U.S. ruling that threw Samsung’s alleged jury misconduct claim out of the window.

The European Union in January launched a formal investigation into a potential breach of EU antitrust rules concerning Samsung’s use of standards-essential patents…

Reuters has the story:

The EU competition watchdog is investigating whether Samsung broke EU competition rules by filing patent lawsuits against Apple. “We will issue a statement of objections very soon,” Almunia said, referring to the Commission’s charge sheet.

Bloomberg has the nitty-gritty:

While regulators were “happy” with Samsung’s announcement this week that it will withdraw patent lawsuits in Europe seeking to block sales of Apple Inc. products, Almunia said the commission will continue to investigate the company over whether threat to use such injunctions harm competition.

Apple in August won $1.05 in damages after a U.S. jury ruled that the Galaxy maker violated Apple’s design and utility patents related to the iPhone and iPad.

Samsung on Tuesday unexpectedly dropped its bid to ban Apple products in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands without saying whether or not it would proceed with its court battle for compensation.

The Galaxy maker said it was “protecting consumer choice” though it’s likely that the move was meant to appease EU watchdogs.

Meanwhile, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday invalidated Apple’s prized pinch-to-zoom patent. The organization previously invalidated other important Apple patents related to the iPhone, including one related to rubber-band scrolling.

Patent blogger Florian Müeller reported that Samsung has already “proudly informed” Judge Koh of the fact that the USPTO has tentatively rejected the pinch-zoom patent.

It should be interesting watching how Samsung reacts to the looming antitrust probe in the EU.