“Europe’s antitrust chief said a few weeks ago that Samsung Electronics had submitted proposals for settling its patent-related antitrust case, and now the European Commission has published them for a one-month public consultation,” David Meyer writes for Businessweek. “In a nutshell, Samsung has proposed not abusing its so-called standards-essential patents (SEPs) in the mobile arena for the next five years.”
MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, the slavish copier promises not to break the law for a whole five years! What more could you ask for?
“In this case, without using Samsung’s patented technologies, you cannot make a 3G phone. That’s what makes this an antitrust case, and an important one at that,” Meyer writes. “Standards such as 3G comprise thousands of patents that are all essential to making the whole function, so when they are formalized, the companies that developed them agree to put them into a patent pool. The patents can still command a fee, but their holders must agree to license them to a willing licensee on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (or Frand) terms.”
“Which is precisely what didn’t happen in this particular Samsung-Apple dispute,” Meyer writes. “Although Apple was willing to pay Frand rates, Samsung wouldn’t play ball and instead decided to use the SEPs as legal weapons. And that’s where the EC stepped in, launching an investigation into Samsung’s patent abuse at the start of 2012. (Apple itself apparently did not make a formal complaint.)”
Meyer writes, “The big problem with Samsung’s settlement proposal is its five-year term… When Google settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission earlier this year over its own SEPs antitrust case, the FTC didn’t say it would be OK for Google to go back to breaking its commitments after a set period of time.”
Read more in the full article here.
EU says Samsung offers to stop patent lawsuits in Europe in order to avoid $18.3 billion FRAND abuse fine – October 17, 2013