Samsung faces a possible $15 billion fine over misuse of standard patents against Apple in Europe

Posted on Dec 28 2012 - 12:24pm by Mike Wewerka

Samsung event display booth focus S ii 2 windows phone 8 Samsung faces a possible $15 billion fine over misuse of standard patents against Apple in Europe

If you thought that Apple’s victory against Samsung and its 1.5 billion dollar payout was a lot of money, get this, Samsung may have to dish out up to $15 billion more in Europe. Back in January, the European Commission opened an investigation against Samsung, citing that the South Korean company was using Standard Essential Patents (SEP) for 3G to get Apple’s iPhone and iPads banned in Europe. While Apple has been going after Samsung all over the world, the patents that Apple is suing for, aren’t “essential” patents, meaning they don’t have to be licensed or shared. If Samsung is found guilty of such a violation, they could be forced to pay 10% of their worldwide revenue of $148 billion, which is about $15 billion. Samsung isn’t facing an investigation in just Europe either, Samsung is also under scrutiny in the U.S. by the Justice Department for the same issue with SEPs that they’ve used against Apple in other parts of the world.

What’s interesting, is that Samsung just recently announced that while they plan to continue their litigation against Apple for the misuse of their patents, they’ve decided to drop their attempts to have Apple’s products banned.

“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’s—supposedly kind—statement came just a few days prior to the European Commission’s head, Joaquin Almunia, stating that Samsung would be under investigation for their misuse of SEP’s and their seeking the banning of Apple’s products as a result. The reason that Samsung is under pressure, is because SEP’s must be “reasonably” licensed to other companies with “fair and non-discriminatory” terms, if two companies cannot agree on pricing, than a price will be decided by the courts. But because Apple was willing to pay a reasonable amount for the 3G patents and Samsung refused and was still seeking the ban of their products, it violated the SEP law.

Samsung will have to answer to the European Commission soon and based on their response and some further investigation, the Commission will decide what fines it will impose and how much to inflict, but again, it could be up to $15 billion, which will hurt any company’s bottom line, no matter how much they make.

Source: The Guardian UK