European Commission launches formal probe into Samsung's 3G patent licensing practices

European Commission launches formal probe into Samsung's 3G patent licensing pra

The European Union (EU)'s anti-trust agency, the European Commission, disclosed on Tuesday that it has initiated a formal probe to ascertain whether any competition laws have been violated by South Korean tech biggie Samsung by disallowing fair licensing of 3G-related patents to its competitors.

The 3G patent licensing practices adopted by Samsung have come under the scanner of the EU regulators in the wake of the ongoing legal scuffles between Samsung and Apple as well as with other rival companies.

Revealing that investigations had been launched to access the 3G patent licensing practices which Samsung follows, the European Commission said in a statement that it will chiefly examine whether Samsung Electronics had broken EU antitrust rules by "abusively, and in contravention of a commitment it gave to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)" making use of some of its standard essential patent rights for denting competition in mobile device markets in Europe.

With the investigations chiefly aimed at finding out whether Samsung has stood by the promise that it made 14 years back for licensing its patents which were deemed "essential" for the use of 3G technology in mobile devices like handsets and tablet computers, the launch of the probe is a clear indication that the European Commission will look into the issue on a priority basis.

The commission had revealed that while scrutinizing Samsung's 3G patent licensing practices it will examine whether Samsung has abused "a dominant position prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU
(TFEU)."

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