It appears that Samsung will soon face formal charges in an antitrust lawsuit from the European Commission. The commission claims that the South Korean tech giant broke the region’s competition rules by filing patent litigation against Apple. In a statement issued to the Financial Times, European Union’s antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said:
We will adopt a statement of objections very soon. I don’t know if before the end of this year or the beginning of next year because we are in the last step of our internal procedures.
The news comes about two days after Samsung dropped its injunction applications against Apple in five European countries. Despite that, the European Commission, which is the EU’s executive body for policies, is moving ahead with its decision.
Even though the commission is pleased with the company’s recent action, it is said that they will continue with the investigation. As Almunia further stated:
We are very happy if theses [requested] injunctions are withdrawn but we will continue to investigate the possible abuses that existed…in the past.
Samsung Drops Apple Injunction in Five European Countries
Samsung announced last Tuesday that they will drop the patent injunctions filed against Apple in five European countries. The said countries are France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and United Kingdom. However, a number of lawsuits regarding patent infringement remain. As the company issued in a statement:
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.
Earlier this year, Samsung was notified by EC that they were under investigation. It is meant to assess whether or not the company had used patent rights to “distort competition in European mobile device markets”; thus, breaching the union’s antitrust laws.
However, the South Korean tech giant’s withdrawn applications are a major shift in a war between them and Apple. The company added that their decision was “unilateral and voluntary”, although they declined to say whether it is a result of an out-of-court talk with the Cupertino-based company.
EU’s litigation is the latest development in the sprawling legal battle between Apple and Samsung. It should be recalled that last August, a California jury ruled that the South Korean the giant should pay Apple about $1.5 billions in damages over patent infringement.