European Commission investigating Samsung over abuse of FRAND patents against Apple

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
According to legal documents filed by Apple in its California patent dispute with Samsung, the European Commission is investigating Samsung's patent litigation to determine if its use of standards-essential patents violates competition laws.



A report by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents notes that Apple has complained in California legal documents that Samsung is trying "to coerce Apple into tolerating Samsung's imitation" through a series of counterclaims involving FRAND patents.



While Apple has sued Samsung over the infringement of its proprietary design and technology patents, Samsung's own patent claims and counterclaims against Apple are largely based upon patents Samsung holds that have been committed to "Fair, Reasonable And NonDiscriminatory" licensing terms.



Because these FRAND licensed patents have been "declared essential" in implementing open industry standards such as 3G and WiFi, a vendor's attempt to use them as leverage against a specific competitor would be considered anti-competitive, because it creates a monopoly within what is supposed to be openly interoperable standard.



Samsung is among the companies that were granted antitrust clearance in the EU to work together to develop 3G technologies, with the understanding that their pooled technologies could not be used to thwart competition in the industry.



Apple itself holds FRAND licensed patents tied to web, video and other technologies that it similarly has committed not to use as weapons to prevent competition. In general, FRAND patents are only useful for collecting prearranged royalties, and can not be used to stop a single competitor from participating in an open industry standard.



But that's exactly what Apple accuses Samsung of trying to do, stating, "Samsung has launched an aggressive, worldwide campaign to enjoin Apple from allegedly practicing Samsung's patents. Samsung has sued Apple for infringement and injunctions in no fewer than eight countries outside the United States.



"Indeed, Samsung's litigation campaign and other conduct related to its Declared-Essential Patents is so egregious that the European Commission recently has opened an investigation to determine whether Samsung's behavior violates EU competition laws.



"Apple brings these Counterclaims In Reply to halt Samsung's abuse and protect consumers, the wireless telecommunications industry, and Apple from further injury."



Mueller notes that the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition has not announced its new investigation against Samsung, saying that Apple's allusion to the investigation is the first public notice of the action.



Previously, the DG COMP has imposed major fines and other remedies against both Microsoft and Intel for activities the agency decreed toxic to free market competition.



Openly phony



Last year, Google waged a war against MPEG-LA and the open, FRAND-licensed H.264 video standards, complaining that the technologies weren't completely free for everyone to implement.



However, Google is now actively supporting its Android licensees, including Samsung, Motorola Mobility and HTC, all of whom are using FRAND-licensed patents as weapons to prevent not just a free implementation of wireless technologies like 3G and WiFi, but actually attempting to block Apple from being able to pay to license the patents in order to implement open standards.



Apple previously complained about attempts by Motorola and Samsung to monopolize markets with FRAND patents, saying the companies are deceptively monopolizing markets to "harm or eliminate competition."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,254member
    Fingers crossed for Apple on this one.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member




    Ruh Roh Raggy!
  • Reply 3 of 29
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,614member
    Apple seems to have the best corporate antitrust lawyers in the tech industry. Samsung, OTOH, seems to have hired the guys who passed the bar on the 4th try. Using FRAND patents to fight a patent war? Who the hell are these clowns that Samsung pays for legal advice?
  • Reply 4 of 29
    So ?



    Apple sues because Samsung is copying their patented UI/design.



    Samsung sues because Apple is implementing features that depend on open, albeit patented technologies.



    Libertarians today tout the notion that social progression is supersceding old-fashioned and outdated principles such as 'intellectual property' and 'copyright'. Let's put this in a context which we can all understand:



    Johnny is in 3rd grade. Johnny is in art class, and has just finished his fifth assignment of the semester.



    Billy ? following a pattern that has spanned every assignment over these first three years of these boys' educational tenure ? has once again acquired Johnny's assignment, made a color photocopy, and has proceeded to color over the photocopy with crayons that match or closely resemble the original colors, subsequently claiming it as 'his own' work. Billy turns in his assignment, gets an A (just like Johnny), and couldn't be more pleased.



    Are Billy's actions legal? Are they ethical? Does it matter?



    Because I can tell you one thing: Billy's blatant ripping off of Johhny's original artwork is damn annoying.



    Not to mention the fact that it's a mark of slothfulness, lack of creative thinking, unoriginality, absence of confidence in himself, deficiency of respect for others, a shortage of integrity, and a propensity to create at all costs, even at the expense of common principles such as fairness, uniqueness, personal satisfaction, or moral duty to society.



    Is Billy a leech? Would he be seen as a brilliant artist, or one more of the ripoff variety? Does his artwork in any way represent competition, innovation, or inspiration in the field of crayola artworks?
  • Reply 5 of 29
    Don't forget that Billy is also trying to have the teacher make Johnny turn over the preliminary sketches of his next art project to 'see how it looks'.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    tcaseytcasey Posts: 199member
    this is more simple...samsung is a bottlelegger of apple...samsung is suing to make it look like everyone is a bottlegger...
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macwise View Post


    So ?this is more simple...samsung is a bottlelegger of apple...samsung is suing to make it look like everyone is a bottlegger...



    Apple sues because Samsung is copying their patented UI/design.



    Samsung sues because Apple is implementing features that depend on open, albeit patented technologies.



    Libertarians today tout the notion that social progression is supersceding old-fashioned and outdated principles such as 'intellectual property' and 'copyright'. Let's put this in a context which we can all understand:



    Johnny is in 3rd grade. Johnny is in art class, and has just finished his fifth assignment of the semester.



    Billy ? following a pattern that has spanned every assignment over these first three years of these boys' educational tenure ? has once again acquired Johnny's assignment, made a color photocopy, and has proceeded to color over the photocopy with crayons that match or closely resemble the original colors, subsequently claiming it as 'his own' work. Billy turns in his assignment, gets an A (just like Johnny), and couldn't be more pleased.



    Are Billy's actions legal? Are they ethical? Does it matter?



    Because I can tell you one thing: Billy's blatant ripping off of Johhny's original artwork is damn annoying.



    Not to mention the fact that it's a mark of slothfulness, lack of creative thinking, unoriginality, absence of confidence in himself, deficiency of respect for others, a shortage of integrity, and a propensity to create at all costs, even at the expense of common principles such as fairness, uniqueness, personal satisfaction, or moral duty to society.



    Is Billy a leech? Would he be seen as a brilliant artist, or one more of the ripoff variety? Does his artwork in any way represent competition, innovation, or inspiration in the field of crayola artworks?



  • Reply 7 of 29
    tinman0tinman0 Posts: 168member
    oops, EC being involved is not good (well, not for Samsung). No one you can lobby, no one to pull strings, just a rabid competition department who like making money from big corporates when said corporates do something stupid.



    I'm assuming that they've spent all the Microsoft money on hookers and cocaine, time for a new cash cow. Hello Samsung!
  • Reply 8 of 29
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    It looks like Samsung is in violation of Article 102 TFEU.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macwise View Post


    Libertarians today tout the notion that social progression is supersceding old-fashioned and outdated principles such as 'intellectual property' and 'copyright'. Let's put this in a context which we can all understand:



    I'm glad you made it easy for those of us who are not idiots to know when to stop reading your post and skip to the next.
  • Reply 10 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tcasey View Post


    this is more simple...samsung is a bottlelegger of apple...samsung is suing to make it look like everyone is a bottlegger...



    Bottlegger? The more commonly accepted term is ``bootlegger.''
  • Reply 11 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post


    oops, EC being involved is not good (well, not for Samsung). No one you can lobby, no one to pull strings, just a rabid competition department who like making money from big corporates when said corporates do something stupid.



    I'm assuming that they've spent all the Microsoft money on hookers and cocaine, time for a new cash cow. Hello Samsung!



    I don't know how this commission works but if they are free from lobbyists and people who pull strings, I might be okay with them getting a liitle cocaine and a few hookers.
  • Reply 12 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    I'm glad you made it easy for those of us who are not idiots to know when to stop reading your post and skip to the next.



    What, then, shall we derive from reading only a little further to your signature?



    You can bash (likely because you are unable to reasonably rebut these points), but the fact remains and the point stays unchallenged. The illustration is the topic which a non-troll will debate, not the preface. All you've proven is that you can put minimal effort into an attempt to change the topic.



    And why would you want to do that, I wonder?



    For the record, I'm not biased against Libertarians. However, this idea seems to be one of their key tenets.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macwise View Post


    Libertarians today tout the notion that social progression is supersceding old-fashioned and outdated principles such as 'intellectual property' and 'copyright'



    Where did you come up with that nonsense? People who know the meaning of the word "Libertarian" (not the same as "Libertarian Socialists", by the way), know that property rights are one of the most important rights we have. There is nothing "outdated" about property rights.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cameronj View Post


    I'm glad you made it easy for those of us who are not idiots to know when to stop reading your post and skip to the next.



    Looks like we zeroed in on the same bit of dreck. Where's my doggie-doo collection bag?
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Where did you come up with that nonsense? People who know the meaning of the word "Libertarian" (not the same as "Libertarian Socialists", by the way), know that property rights are one of the most important rights we have. There is nothing "outdated" about property rights.



    Maybe I am misunderstanding the basic theses of the Libertarians I hear/know, but I don't think so. The overarching idea is that property rights are very important, while 'intellectual property' is really just censorship. Take the following video featuring what I deduce are two known libertarians discussing the issue:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGblHLcIi4Q



    Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding the basic concepts here, but it seems that copyright and IP are more or less curse words to the Lib movement, and they'd prefer that all the digital content which they wish to consume be free as in beer and free as in speech.



    The main problem I see with this is thus:



    What happens if tomorrow the entire population decides they should no longer be required to pay for the priveledge of watching movies, listening to music, or using imagery for commercial purposes?but still want to enjoy that privelege at no personal cost to themselves? Who will pay for the content creators to produce this content? If nobody is paying for the level of quality most all of us enjoy, will we be satisfied having the bar of quality drop dramatically (and permanently)?



    If you want to spend your time supporting free content, be my guest. But consuming high-quality paid content without supporting the creators (all the while claiming it SHOULD be free) is just passing the cost of this high-quality content on to the other buyers who choose to support this content with their pocketbook. That's kind of sleazy.



    To be fair, there are some pretty serious problems with the RIAA and MPAA. I'm no supporter of them, and believe they can't be buried soon enough. But as a photographer and designer by trade, I take serious issue and offense with folks when I hear them say that the work I do to feed my children should be free for their taking, and I should gladly do it for their enjoyment.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    Ah they can use the fine money to bail out Greece
  • Reply 17 of 29
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macwise View Post


    Maybe I am misunderstanding the basic theses of the Libertarians I hear/know, but I don't think so. The overarching idea is that property rights are very important, while 'intellectual property' is really just censorship. Take the following video featuring what I deduce are two known libertarians discussing the issue:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGblHLcIi4Q



    Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding the basic concepts here, but it seems that copyright and IP are more or less curse words to the Lib movement, and they'd prefer that all the digital content which they wish to consume be free as in beer and free as in speech.



    ...



    Libertarianism has always been rife with self contradiction, but, for traditional Libertarians, property rights, including intellectual property, are effectively the only rights that matter, despite some noise to the contrary. However, given the self-contradictory, irrational nature of Libertarian philosophy, its banner attracts a lot of people just looking for an excuse to be selfish and immature, and justify antisocial behavior.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macwise View Post


    Libertarians today tout the notion that social progression is supersceding old-fashioned and outdated principles such as 'intellectual property' and 'copyright'.



    You greatly misunderstand Libertarianism. Read Atlas Shrugged to get an idea of the Libertarian view on property rights.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Libertarianism has always been rife with self contradiction, but, for traditional Libertarians, property rights, including intellectual property, are effectively the only rights that matter, despite some noise to the contrary. However, given the self-contradictory, irrational nature of Libertarian philosophy, its banner attracts a lot of people just looking for an excuse to be selfish and immature, and justify antisocial behavior.



    I'm not sure that it's so much that Libertarianism is self-contradictory as that it is incomplete and impractical. They make a number of fundamental assumptions that are not based in fact - or even supported by logic. Among the assumptions are:



    1. That what is good for the individual must be good for society as a whole.

    2. That there are no true fundamental rights and that all rights must be earned.

    3. That the value of society to individuals is proportionate to their wealth - and that they will willingly pay that amount for services.



    Just take the simplest item: education. To a true Libertarian, there shouldn't be public schools since they amount to distribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. In a Libertarian world, everyone would get the education they are willing to pay for. The rich would come out ahead in the short run (since even the most expensive private education is probably less than they're paying in property taxes) while the poor would get only the education they are willing to pay for - which would be substandard. In reality, society clearly benefits from having an educated population and therefore public schools are in society's interests.



    I think it's important to realize that NO extreme political party will be likely to get its way in this country. Even if a Libertarian were elected (or a Tea Party member or a Greenpeace activist or whatever), they can't get their agenda adopted. The best view is to say "which direction should we be moving as a society?" and vote accordingly. Personally, I believe that moving a little bit in the direction of Libertarianism would probably be a good thing overall. Going to a fully Libertarian society? Horrible idea - even if it were possible.
  • Reply 19 of 29
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    You greatly misunderstand Libertarianism. Read Atlas Shrugged to get an idea of the Libertarian view on property rights.







    I'm not sure that it's so much that Libertarianism is self-contradictory as that it is incomplete and impractical. They make a number of fundamental assumptions that are not based in fact - or even supported by logic. Among the assumptions are:



    1. That what is good for the individual must be good for society as a whole.

    2. That there are no true fundamental rights and that all rights must be earned.

    3. That the value of society to individuals is proportionate to their wealth - and that they will willingly pay that amount for services.



    Just take the simplest item: education. To a true Libertarian, there shouldn't be public schools since they amount to distribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. In a Libertarian world, everyone would get the education they are willing to pay for. The rich would come out ahead in the short run (since even the most expensive private education is probably less than they're paying in property taxes) while the poor would get only the education they are willing to pay for - which would be substandard. In reality, society clearly benefits from having an educated population and therefore public schools are in society's interests.



    I think it's important to realize that NO extreme political party will be likely to get its way in this country. Even if a Libertarian were elected (or a Tea Party member or a Greenpeace activist or whatever), they can't get their agenda adopted. The best view is to say "which direction should we be moving as a society?" and vote accordingly. Personally, I believe that moving a little bit in the direction of Libertarianism would probably be a good thing overall. Going to a fully Libertarian society? Horrible idea - even if it were possible.



    I do not entirely agree with your characterization of Libertarianism. And while the differences might seem to be splitting hairs, I think they make all the difference in answering the question of whether it would be beneficial for society to move in the direction of Libertarianism: I think it has been and would be a disastrous mistake.



    Libertarians essentially assert that we maximize freedom (the ultimate good) by minimizing the role of government to strictly national defense, which, for them, includes the defense of property rights by law enforcement. The major hole in the theory, whence come the contradictions, is that they specifically exclude defense of anything but property rights. For example, under a strictly Libertarian view, the government has no business defending air and water from pollution, even though contaminated air and water would certainly kill some high number of individuals if unchecked. (Thus, they cannot claim that they believe in protecting life, in addition to "liberty".) The resulting system necessarily degenerates into one in which the rich and powerful are free to do whatever they want at the expense of others. (Sound familiar?)



    The contradictions inherent in the philosophy are essentially this: If the role of government is to defend, and this defense is supposed to maximize liberty, and thus happiness and well being, why is the defense arbitrarily restricted to property rights? Shouldn't health and quality of life be defended, too, against enemies, foreign and domestic, who threaten these? Shouldn't government defend against exploitation by the haves of the have-nots, in order that the have-nots have the same chance at liberty and freedom as the haves?



    In the end, Libertarianism boils down to nothing more than a rationalization of allowing the rich and powerful to exercise tyranny over those they are able to, abetted by a government that will protect their right to exploit and their property interests, but little else. This is the antithesis of democracy, and is not, in any way, a desirable direction for our society to go any further toward.



    Rejecting Libertarianism as intellectually and morally bankrupt, doesn't mean you are against freedom. Quite the contrary. Accepting Libertarianism, ironically, would be the death of liberty.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,920member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    Apple seems to have the best corporate antitrust lawyers in the tech industry. Samsung, OTOH, seems to have hired the guys who passed the bar on the 4th try. Using FRAND patents to fight a patent war? Who the hell are these clowns that Samsung pays for legal advice?



    I wonder how much of this might be explained by a distorted worldview on the part of Samsung leadership. My impression is that Samsung is HUGE in Korea, and that Korea is the kind of place where the law applies differently to huge local corporations (that's at least a little true everywhere, but it's a matter of degree, and the degree matters).



    It could be that the leadership at Samsung may not have realized that at least in the EU, the authorities are not quite as easily bought as they are in Korea.



    One other thought -- I'm reading the Jobs biography and have reached the part where he became iCEO at Apple. Even at this early stage, it's obvious that he had learned a great deal during his time in the wilderness. And of course we all know how the story turns out -- the Apple of the last 15 years makes the Apple of the 80s and 90s look like amateur hour (because that's what it was).



    Given all that Jobs clearly learned in every other aspect of the business, I think it's reasonable to infer that he also learned something about how to protect his intellectual property rights. And if that's right -- if Apple has become as good at defending its innovations as they are at everything else -- then Samsung, HTC, and Google are well and truly farked.
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