Samsung's strategy - contesting in court, for over a year and a half, the licences obtained by Apple without Samsung's consent on the tablets and smartphones market, in particular in Europe - does not seem to be faring very well. Samsung was ordered in August 2012 in California to pay damages of US$1 billion, and now the EU has also rebuked the company for its patent complaint tactic.

On 21 December 2012, the Commission decided that these legal injunctions in several member states were an abuse of dominant position, prohibited by EU anti-trust rules. The EU executive had opened an investigation against the South Korean enterprise in January 2012 and had warned that it would severely sanction abuse of power wielded by standard-essential' patent holders to distort competition. Indeed, standard-essential patent holders are under obligation from standard regulators to grant licences to competitors under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Samsung is refusing to grant Apple FRAND licences on standard-essential patents although it is obliged to do so and is blocking the commercialisation of various Apple products - thus fuelling the war on patents in information technology. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, on 30 March 2012 during his trip to the US, that this capacity can be used to distort competition. He added that in certain cases standard-essential patent holders can concretely hold hostage an entire industry with the threat of a ban on competitor products. This is unacceptable, he commented, adding that he was determined to apply anti-trust laws to present such a hold-up by...

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