Samsung Drops Injunction Requests Against Apple in Europe
In yet another development in the worldwide patent battle between Apple and Samsung, The Verge reports that Samsung has dropped its requests for injunctions barring the sale of a number of Apple products in Europe. Samsung has accused Apple of infringing several standards-essential patents related to cellular technology and has been pursuing both sales bans and monetary damages. Samsung's statement reads:
Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. 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.
While Samsung is portraying its move as an altruistic one focused on "protecting consumer choice", the company has been under scrutiny from the European Commission over potential antitrust issues related to licensing the standards-essential patents it owns.
Standards-essential patents are required to be licensed under FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms in order to promote competition. The requirement is aimed at preventing a single company from controlling an entire industry by refusing to license patents critical to building a competing product. Apple's lawyers have argued, however, that Samsung's offers for licensing its 3G-related patents have not been reasonable.
Apple has been pushing for greater clarification of how patents subject to FRAND terms should be licensed, and has been one of a number of parties to argue that standards-essential patents should not be used as the basis for requests for sales injunctions as the patents are intended to be licensed.