In its filing, an opposition to Samsung's motion to strike new facts in the parties' ongoing ITC case, Apple takes the opportunity to point out "highly inconvenient facts" surrounding the South Korean company's recent withdrawal of EU import ban requests.
As noted by FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller, it appears that Samsung's willingness to connect SEP injunction litigation with consumer interest has ensnarled the firm's forward progress in its international legal battle against Apple.
Samsung in December dropped injunction applications against Apple products in five EU countries, with the move coming ahead of a potential European Commission antitrust investigation involving alleged misuse of declared standard-essential patents.
At the time, Samsung issued the following statement:
In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard-essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.
Days after pulling the sales ban requests, the Commission officially charged Samsung with a formal antitrust complaint alleging the tech giant abused its dominant market position in legal disputes against Apple. Going further, the body stated that because Apple "has shown itself to be willing to negotiate a FRAND licence for the SEPs, then recourse to injunctions harms competition.?
For its part, Samsung said it had no choice but to initiate legal action as Apple was unwilling to negotiate licensing under Fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
As for the Wednesday filing, Apple directly questions Samsung's seemingly conflicting legal policy as it stands in the U.S. and in Europe:
Simply put, Samsung's pursuit of exclusionary relief on declared-essential patents in this investigation is equally as harmful to American consumers as Samsung's pursuit of injunctions on declared-essential patents in Europe was harmful to European consumers. Having withdrawn its injunction requests in Europe, Samsung should now withdraw its exclusion-order request here. If it does not, Apple respectfully submits that the Commission should give the new facts set out in Apple's Notice due consideration as the Commission adjudicates the issues under review and the public interest.
The ITC will review Apple's opposition and offer a ruling on Samsung's motion to strike.