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 line with the Commission’s Guidelines on standardisation agreements (see IP/10/1702 and MEMO/10/676), standard setting organisations, including ETSI, require the owners of patents that are essential for the implementation of a standard to commit to license these patents on FRAND terms. This commitment serves to ensure effective access to the standardised technology. Such commitments were given to ETSI by many patent holders, including Samsung, when the third generation (“3G”) mobile and wireless telecommunications system standards were adopted in Europe.
In order to guarantee undistorted competition and to reap the positive economic effects of standardisation it is important that FRAND commitments be fully honoured by the concerned undertakings.
Source: European Commission
MacDailyNews Take: This is what Samsung gets for trying to use FRAND patents against Apple to defend against their indefensible slavish copying of Apple’s patented (non-FRAND) IP. May Samsung be hit with maximum pain.
[Attribution: Reuters. Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]
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