“Last week I asked: ‘Are U.S. and EU antitrust enforcers taking a rather soft line on standard-essential patent issues?’ Based on a Samsung filing with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that entered the public record yesterday, I must answer this question with a resounding ‘Yes!’ as far as the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) is concerned,” Florian Müller writes for FOSS Patents.

“Basically, Samsung’s filing makes clear that it seeks to benefit from reverse protectionism in which I believe the U.S. government is engaging for geopolitical reasons that have nothing to do with Apple, phones, tablets, or patents,” Müller writes. “Only two weeks have passed since the DoJ announced the closing of its investigation of Samsung’s use of FRAND-pledged standard-essential patents (SEPs) against Apple, arguing that ‘[a]s a result of the [Obama Administration’s veto of an import ban Samsung won last year], the Antitrust Division has determined that no further action is required at this time.’ The fundamental importance of the underlying issue to industry would have been enough of a reason to penalize Samsung even for a failed attempt to win an import ban over a SEP. The European Commission has not closed the Samsung investigation yet even though Samsung also failed with its related attempts in multiple European countries. The U.S. government, however, apparently wanted to avoid the impression of dual punishment (veto plus antitrust decision).”

“Even on that basis, it was just totally premature to ‘close’ the investigation (except for keeping the door open very slightly by promising to continue to monitor the situation) without remedies of any kind,” Müller writes. “If this was about SEPs as opposed to foreign policy, the DoJ would have expected at a very minimum that Samsung withdraw all of its still-pending requests for injunctive relief against Apple over U.S. SEPs. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, the U.S. DOJ is plainly inept.