“Samsung’s various attempts to shut down Apple products — most recently the iPhone 4S — with patents declared essential to the 3G industry standard have now given rise to an antitrust investigation by Europe’s top competition ‘watchdog,'” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “This is the most important development to date related to the world-spanning dispute between these two companies.”

“This investigation has the potential to force Samsung to withdraw most of its claims against Apple, but let’s not forget that the underlying issue concerns the technology industry at large,” Mueller reports. “Everyone — not just Apple — relies on FRAND standards.”

Mueller reports, “Here’s the passage again, with the sentence on the European Commission investigation highlighted by me: Samsung’s efforts to coerce Apple into tolerating Samsung’s imitation have not been limited to the counterclaims here [in California]. Samsung has launched an aggressive, worldwide campaign to enjoin Apple from allegedly practicing Samsung’s patents. Samsung has sued Apple for infringement and injunctions in no fewer than eight countries outside the United States. Indeed, Samsung’s litigation campaign and other conduct related to its Declared-Essential Patents is so egregious that the European Commission recently has 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.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For Samsung, the shit just hit the FRAND.