Wednesday, November 23, 2011

EU Injects Itself Into Apple-Samsung Patent War

Looks like Apple’s sprawling intellectual property battle with Samsung could draw some unwanted attention from the European Union Competition Commission. Evidently, EU regulators are growing concerned that the battle itself could be stifling competition in the mobile space, and they’ve begun talking to the parties involved.

“We requested information from both Apple and Samsung,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said yesterday. “We have not yet received the answers. We need to look at this because IP rights can be used as a distortion of competition but we will need to look at the answers. In particular, in the IT sector, it is obvious it is not the only case. Apple and Samsung is only one case where IP rights can be used as an instrument to restrict competition.”

But with more than 20 cases in 10 countries, this fight is among the biggest out there right now, and it involves some standards-essential patents, so really it was only a matter of time before the European Commission took a look. If the EC ends up pursuing a case against either company, it could fine them up to 10 percent of their annual revenue.

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