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Samsung target of official EU antitrust probe

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it has opened a formal investigation to decide whether Samsung's use of standard-essential FRAND patents as leverage in high profile cases, such as the company's worldwide battle with Apple, violates EU antitrust laws.

A press release from the European body's headquarters in Brussels states:
Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents notes that the announcement marks a "big step" for the European competition watchdogs, perhaps made more cogent given that the Commission has already spent months on a preliminary investigation into the matter.

Questionnaires sent to Apple and Samsung regarding the standard patent cases apparently yielded enough uncertainty as to necessitate the opening of a formal probe, in which the Commission will "examine the case as a matter of priority." Mueller guesses that the Cupertino, Calif., company may have complained informally in order to advance the preliminary investigation to priority status.


The European Commission's headquarters at the Berlaymont in Brussels, Belgium.


The issue stems from Samsung's use of so-called FRAND patents, which are considered to be essential to wireless telecommunications, against rivals such as Apple in its numerous lawsuits to slow or stop sales of the iPhone in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.

The South Korean electronics giant has yet to see success in its 3G-essential patent suits against Apple, most recently losing two out of three such cases in Germany.

A telling court decision was handed down when Samsung attempted to gain a preliminary injunction against the newly-released iPhone 4S in the Netherlands, with the court dismissing the case due to Galaxy maker's failure to follow through with a FRAND patent licensing commitment.
post #2 of 33
Is it just me, or does it seem like Samsung dropped the proverbial soap in Apple's shower today and is now getting duly serviced - prison style?

Samsung is really gettin' probed in the worst way...
post #3 of 33
Its not me I swear
post #4 of 33
This is very good news. Not just for Apple, but for the whole idea of FRAND patents and standards.

I am looking forward to seeing Samsung in the prison shower, not with Apple, but with that big bully the EC. Samsung deserves what they will get. In spades.

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post #5 of 33
Samsung's abuse here was blatant. They had to know this was coming.

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post #6 of 33
This will be interesting.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Samsung's abuse here was blatant. They had to know this was coming.

My thoughts exactly, some lawyers are losing their jobs for sure... if not made to go work for Foxconn... same as prison over there right?
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Samsung's abuse here was blatant. They had to know this was coming.

Yes, we know that. The real issue is: is it simply masochism (or stupidity per Alienzed), or did they have an idea?

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post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

Its not me I swear

I think it's Just_You.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

My thoughts exactly, some lawyers are losing their jobs for sure...

I don't know about that. If a lawyer who admits that he can't tell the difference between an iPad and a Tab gets to keep his job, I don't know how this is any worse.
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post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

My thoughts exactly, some lawyers are losing their jobs for sure... if not made to go work for Foxconn... same as prison over there right?

I suspect it was a Samsung corporate-level honcho (not legal) that told the lawyers to file those extortion lawsuits. However, in the end, the lawyer will lose his/her job which in the end, is okay by me.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I suspect it was a Samsung corporate-level honcho (not legal) that told the lawyers to file those extortion lawsuits. However, in the end, the lawyer will lose his/her job which in the end, is okay by me.

Which, in the end . . . (okay, enough already with the shower metaphor ;-)
post #13 of 33
Ruh-roh!
post #14 of 33
Good. Samesung deserves to get their teeth kicked in.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

Good. Samesung deserves to get their teeth kicked in.

Teeth? Tooth arsed Sammy.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

This is very good news. Not just for Apple, but for the whole idea of FRAND patents and standards.

I am looking forward to seeing Samsung in the prison shower, not with Apple, but with that big bully the EC. Samsung deserves what they will get. In spades.

I wouldn't describe the EU as a bully. A bull, perhaps.
post #17 of 33
What about Motorola? Unlike Samsung, they succesfully won a case against Apple in Germany using a FRAND patent (which surprised a lot of people). Yet they haven't exercised their right and asked for the ban (which they are entitled to).

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post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

What about Motorola? Unlike Samsung, they succesfully won a case against Apple in Germany using a FRAND patent (which surprised a lot of people). Yet they haven't exercised their right and asked for the ban (which they are entitled to).

I'm sure Moto will be hearing from the EC about that soon.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

What about Motorola? Unlike Samsung, they succesfully won a case against Apple in Germany using a FRAND patent (which surprised a lot of people). Yet they haven't exercised their right and asked for the ban (which they are entitled to).

If I understand the ruling correctly, in Germany (if not the whole EU) you have go to the owning company and request to license a patent and either be flat turned down and told it would cost some insanely unfair amount, before you can use FRAND as a defense. And it seems that either Apple didn't or they can't at least prove it. There might have been some of that 'the company that made the component licensed it for use on our behalf' stuff mixed in there as well.

But as I also understand it, the Motorola thing is being appealed already and might not have actually been the final judgement but rather just a prelim injunction level game.

Apparently in the Samsung case, Apple did try to license the patent and Samsung wasn't Fair/Reasonable so Apple didn't pay.

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post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

What about Motorola? Unlike Samsung, they succesfully won a case against Apple in Germany using a FRAND patent (which surprised a lot of people). Yet they haven't exercised their right and asked for the ban (which they are entitled to).

IIRC the Moto case was won because Apple requested a "discriminatory" change to the FRAND patents that would allow them something no other licensee had...Moto rejected the deal and Apple used the tech regardless...not sure of all the details but I doubt it's something as stupid as what Samsung is suing over...I really wish HTC or Moto would step their games up and kick Samsung to the curb...they should be a components manufacturer or come back and do something more unique.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post

I'm sure Moto will be hearing from the EC about that soon.

Doubtful.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

If I understand the ruling correctly, in Germany (if not the whole EU) you have go to the owning company and request to license a patent and either be flat turned down and told it would cost some insanely unfair amount, before you can use FRAND as a defense. And it seems that either Apple didn't or they can't at least prove it. There might have been some of that 'the company that made the component licensed it for use on our behalf' stuff mixed in there as well.

But as I also understand it, the Motorola thing is being appealed already and might not have actually been the final judgement but rather just a prelim injunction level game.

Apparently in the Samsung case, Apple did try to license the patent and Samsung wasn't Fair/Reasonable so Apple didn't pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

What about Motorola? Unlike Samsung, they succesfully won a case against Apple in Germany using a FRAND patent (which surprised a lot of people). Yet they haven't exercised their right and asked for the ban (which they are entitled to).

Moto only won a preliminary ruling because Apple explicitly did not file a response. It was a Moto victory, but purely a procedural one. And it was a victory that only happened a day after the original EU investigation of Moto's potential abuse of FRAND patents was announced. It was hypothesized that Apple purposely missed the filing date as a technique to ensure they lost the original MOTO FRAND** case and make it a bigger priority for the EU to investigate FRAND abuses. Samsung then complied and and filed their own FRAND related cases in Europe AFTER the EU said they were looking at Moto for the same thing. Could they have been dumber?

Apple has since filed the appropriate appeals to reverse the original Moto procedural win. Maybe it really was a case of throwing a peripheral battle to set yourself up to win the war.


**and to top it of Moto doesn't want to acknowledge that Apple buying a Qualcomm chip that was licensed to use Moto IP counts. Moto wants license fees from Apple too, after Qualcomm paid for the right to produce the chip. But hey, they were almost bankrupt, pre-Google purchase offer, hoping for a quick cash infusion from a fast settlement.
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post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

IIRC the Moto case was won because Apple requested a "discriminatory" change to the FRAND patents that would allow them something no other licensee had...Moto rejected the deal and Apple used the tech regardless...not sure of all the details but I doubt it's something as stupid as what Samsung is suing over...I really wish HTC or Moto would step their games up and kick Samsung to the curb...they should be a components manufacturer or come back and do something more unique.



Doubtful.

Well I'll raise your doubtful with a "They already have" on a preliminary investigation basis -- that was awhile ago. I think the formal announcement of a formal investigation will be forthcoming unless Moto is already in negotiations with the EU Commission to unravel FRAND issues.
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post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

This will be interesting.

Samsung employs crazy tactics, not dissimilar to north Korea. They just got
What they deserve. Am surprised apple is still doing huge business with them.
Apple should explain themselves to investors why they continue to do business
With these gangsters. Eventually they will get burned with Samsung.
post #24 of 33
Justice is sweet.

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post #25 of 33
I don't like these kind of probes. Look what it did to Microsoft. I don't like their products, sure, but I don't wish this upon them.
post #26 of 33
So is there any similar FRAND abuse investigation going on in the US? Or is it really only EU that is doing anything to protect (US companies) against FRAND assaults?
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drax7 View Post

Samsung employs crazy tactics, not dissimilar to north Korea. They just got
What they deserve. Am surprised apple is still doing huge business with them.
Apple should explain themselves to investors why they continue to do business
With these gangsters. Eventually they will get burned with Samsung.


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post #28 of 33
Wish they had the EU in S. Korea. Samsung would get shut down. No single company controls any large country the way Samsung control S. Korea. They deserve this.
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post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


Apparently in the Samsung case, Apple did try to license the patent and Samsung wasn't Fair/Reasonable so Apple didn't pay.

Apple didnt bother to pay. Period. They never initiated any deals with Samsung before using the FRAND patents.

The question is whether Apple needs to pay the royalty payments as a user of Qualcomm's chips.

People are forgetting how the justice system works: innocent until proven guilty.

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post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

IIRC the Moto case was won because Apple requested a "discriminatory" change to the FRAND patents that would allow them something no other licensee had...Moto rejected the deal and Apple used the tech regardless...not sure of all the details but I doubt it's something as stupid as what Samsung is suing over...I really wish HTC or Moto would step their games up and kick Samsung to the curb...they should be a components manufacturer or come back and do something more unique.



Doubtful.

Apple "lost" a GPRS patent dispute with Moto.

GPRS is something that is not used by Apple. Apple uses 2G and EDGE. Non of those are GPRS.

2G ---> GPRS ---> EDGE ---> 3Gv1 384Kbit ---> 3G 1.4Mbit ---> 3G 7Mbit, 14, 21 ---> LTE

Apple will win an appeal.
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shompa View Post

GPRS is something that is not used by Apple.

Of course it is. When you don't have EDGE service on your iPhone, it defaults to GPRS if that's nearby. I've seen it happen on my own device.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

What about Motorola? Unlike Samsung, they succesfully won a case against Apple in Germany using a FRAND patent (which surprised a lot of people). Yet they haven't exercised their right and asked for the ban (which they are entitled to).

Every time that has been reported, it has also been suggested that FRAND was initially offered to Apple, and they rejected some of the terms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post

I'm sure Moto will be hearing from the EC about that soon.

Didn't Apple reject part of the FRAND terms in that case? You assume way too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Apple didnt bother to pay. Period. They never initiated any deals with Samsung before using the FRAND patents.

The question is whether Apple needs to pay the royalty payments as a user of Qualcomm's chips.

People are forgetting how the justice system works: innocent until proven guilty.

You forget that people on here only care if Apple wins regardless of circumstances.
post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

Wish they had the EU in S. Korea. Samsung would get shut down. No single company controls any large country the way Samsung control S. Korea. They deserve this.

Samsung's success equates to a rich corporate tax revenue stream for S. Korea. So why would any EU-like organization in South Korea attempt to hurt the nation's tax revenues by shutting down the biggest company? Not only would 100,000+ employees lose their jobs if Samsung were shut down but all of their suppliers would go down too. That would make the S. Korean administration mighty popular if they destroyed domestic jobs, wouldn't it?
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