Samsung Possibly Being Fined Billions for Attempting to Ban Apple Products in Europe?

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Here we go with more Samsung v Apple news. You didn’t think they’d take the holidays off now did you? Well Samsung is about to be facing a potential fine of 10% of its revenue, which translates to billions of British Pounds, for not licensing their standards-essential patents to their arch enemy Apple with reasonable and fair terms. As we’ve gone over before, standards-essential patents must be licensed with reasonable and fair terms by law. Then Apple had refused to pay what they believed was a unfair licensing fee, Samsung started looking to get Apple’s devices banned in Europe.

This potential fine could be around 9.3 billion GBP or $15 billion USD based on Samsung’s 2011 revenue which was around $148.9 billion. The EC Competition arm had a formal statement on Friday objecting to Samsung’s actions. Samsung isn’t the only one under fire by the EC, Motorola is also being looked at for using its standards-essential patents for Wi-Fi and the H.264 video standard, where Motorola was looking to ban the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone handsets. Also both Samsung and Motorola may be facing fines in the US as well.

Samsung is being investigated by the US Justice Department for their FRAND patents:

“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.”-Samsung playing defense”

You might remember on Friday, Samsung withdrew its request to have Apple’s iPhone and iPad banned in Europe. That was before the EC Competition arm made it’s statement. European Commisioner for competition Joaquin Almunia said that allowing companies like Samsung that own FRAND patents to ban sales when licensing cannot be agreed on, is akin to the “hold-up” since these patents are essential for a company to operate in the market. The commission also added “Recourse to injunctions harms competition.” Now we wait for Samsung to reply, then the EC will announce a fine or take some other action in this case.