Apple only a witness, not target, of EU inquiry over Samsung’s alleged FRAND patent abuse

“The European Commission’s statement has created some confusion since it confirmed that questions were sent to ‘Samsung and Apple,'” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “I can understand that many people interpreted this as indicating that Apple’s conduct is also at issue, and knowing how news agencies work, they certainly have to take the regulator’s own announcements literally, but since I watch the dispute between those two companies, I can say definitively that neither the Commission’s statement nor Samsung’s reaction nor Apple’s court filing provide any reasonable indication that Apple’s own behavior is being probed.”

“The Commission describes the scope of the investigation as ‘the enforcement of standards-essential patents in the mobile telephony sector,’ and Apple has not sued anyone over even one such patent so far,” Mueller reports. “At the time when UMTS/3G was developed, Apple wasn’t even in the wireless devicess business. Between those parties, only Samsung enforces allegedly standards-essential patents, and the capacity in which Apple received the Commission’s requests for information must therefore be that of a witness and maybe also that of an informal or formal complainant.”

Mueller reports, “In order to evaluate a possible abuse of FRAND-pledged patents, a regulator needs to check into the history of negotiations between the parties, and it also needs the parties’ help in order to find out confidential information about lawsuits. In many jurisdictions, it’s hard to find any document in the public record, and in others, only a small part. That’s why Apple’s involvement is needed. It doesn’t make Apple a target of the investigation, at least not at this stage based on what’s been said.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
European Commission investigates Samsung over possible abuse of FRAND patents against Apple – November 3, 2011


  1. Apple has no “standards-essential” patents in dispute with Samsung, so clearly this is not about Apple abusing its IP, but Samsung. Anyone reading Muller’s site would know that this is about Samsung’s possible abuse of its “standards-essential” patents. The media are clueless.

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