“The second patent trial between Apple and Samsung, scheduled to start on March 31, took a dramatic turn late on Friday as the two companies filed a stipulation with the court dropping some of the claims and counter-claims to be debated in the second trial,” Electronista reports. “Samsung, perhaps fearing further investigations over its improper use of standards-essential patents (SEPs) as legal weapons and bargaining tools, has agreed to drop all SEP claims from the case, leaving it with only two claims on two patents, down from its original five.”
“In all of the legal matters between the two giant electronics firms, there are two types of patents in dispute: SEPs, which are a class of patents that are vital to create modern devices (for example, patents covering how 3G or LTE works), and non-SEPs — unique patents that others do not need to emulate in order to create working devices,” Electronista reports. “Apple has never resorted to litigation against companies infringing on its SEPs, preferring to negotiate agreements using the FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) principle, which means it will offer low-cost licenses to all competitors, even direct rivals like Samsung.”
“Under the deal filed late Friday, Apple has agreed to drop its counterclaims on those SEPs and FRAND counterclaims, reports patent analyst Florian Mueller, but Samsung is agreeing to dismiss its SEP claims without prejudice — meaning it could bring those matters up again in some future litigation. Samsung has been under investigation by the European Union over its abuse of FRAND guidelines, and was recently being investigated by the US Department of Justice, though the agency later strangely closed the investigation with a promise to continue ‘monitoring’ Samsung for FRAND abuse,” Electronista reports. “It may be that promise that moved Samsung to dispose of its SEP claims in the new trial, or perhaps it was influenced by a review of its track record in the US on such matters.”
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