back to article EU: Apple-Samsung row could be stifling competition

The EU has said it is concerned about the Great Patent Wars being a cover for unfair competition practices by IT firms. Despite no complaints being filed, the European Commission decided to open an investigation into the warfare between Apple and Samsung involving 3G standards patents. "We requested information from both …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sounds Promising

    Anything that can switch off the bullshit machine will be helpful. I've nothing against patents and protecting IP, but the current situation is not good for anything

  2. Steve Renouf
    FAIL

    ABOUT FUCKING TIME!!

    That is all...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    This will probably backfire badly on Samsung.

    It's samsung using the 3G standards patents in the war. I'm not much for these patent disputes in general, but from what I've seen Samsung is looking much the worse out of this particular pair.

    For anyone not familiar with the details, apple are suing samsung over a bunch of patents, relating to various software, designs and such. Not something to be happy about, but pretty standard these days unfortunately..

    Then there's samsung's retaliation. They're using patents covering core 3G standards, which they agreed to license under FRAND. Basically they agreed to licence them to *anyone* under fair terms. They licensed them to the company making the baseband chips in the iPhones, which apple then bought and used.

    Now they're asking for money from apple too, and from what I've heard so far they're asking for 2%. Not much, but there are hundreds of these patented inventions involved in such a chip, meaning the total patent fees would be multiples of the cost of the product. Hardly 'fair' licensing, and charging for the same patent twice (double dipping) is not legal in most places. Apple obviously refused.

    So they're now asking for iPhones to be banned from sale because it uses 3G, despite the iPhone using parts that are licensed, and against the FRAND agreements they signed when signing up to the 3G spec. *ALL* 3G phones are likely to be covered by these patents, so if they're successful they could potentially ban any mobile phone that has 3G. This is why the EU are investigating.

    So yes, I think it'll end up exploding in their faces, and they'll be fully deserving it :)

    1. yoinkster

      crapple are suing and blocking Samsung products based on a design patent on the idea of "rounded corners".

      Because of this, IMHO, Samsung could sue crapple based on the fact that both companies have an a in their name and Samsung used that letter first and I would totally 100% support Samsung in it.

      crapple need to be punched in the face repeatedly because they are c*nts. Even if all this posturing only makes people aware of how pathetic they are, at least it may just influence those people enough to not buy crapple products. That would be awesome.

      1. cs94njw

        "rounded corners" is a matter of whether that's patented and whether it's a fair patent. This takes a court to decide.

        Blatently going against a FRAND contract, is not a grey area, and doesn't need a court.

        "crapple" are gits, but Samsung are using the wrong weapons.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Chris 19

      Stop confusing the haters with facts. They still can't understand why no one wants to spend real money on those crappy tablets while being happy to get a subsidized BYGO free phone.

  4. HP Cynic

    And the EU is right.

  5. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    So true

    So true.

  6. Matthew 25
    Go

    About time too.

  7. LarsG

    CRIKEY!!!!!!!!!

    I cannot believe there are such enlightened people in the EU.

    I will probably wake up in a moment and find it is all a dream.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Scots_muso
    WTF?

    Picsel

    Why is it that _nobody_ talks about Picsel in all of this? What happened to their case against Apple? After all, it was Picsel who made the software in the first place. Did the case get dropped?

    1. TeraTelnet

      Justia says yes

      Looks like Picsel voluntarily withdrew from the case - http://dockets.justia.com/docket/delaware/dedce/1:2009cv00100/41844/

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backfires on Samsung?

    Maybe, but I don't think either side expects to win. This is about disrupting business around the Apple launch and run-up to Christmas. Apple needs to get the wins in before Android-on-tablets gets the mindshare it has on phones.

    This is the behaviour you get when you can effectively convict before a trial.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me see...

    "As the number of big players in this sector has dwindled, it increases the chances that if any of the big firms - Google, Microsoft or Apple - win IP battles against other companies, they'll effectively create monopolies in the process."

    Er you mean monopolies like patents? Rewarding innovation with a time-limited right to exclude others?

    With everybody attacking everybody else, I can't really see that the "Great Patent Wars" could be stifling competition. They'll be a few big decisions and it will all settle down to business as usual.

  11. mhenriday
    Thumb Up

    Sometimes - albeit rarely - the EU Commission does something worthwhile.

    This would seem to be one of these rare cases. Hopefully, the investigation announced by Señor Almunia will not be restricted to patents, but cover the whole spectrum of so-called «intellectual property», not least the EU's so-called «design-registration» practices. As the UK business-link site explains the matter : «[a] registered design is a monopoly right for the appearance of the whole or part of a product, resulting particularly from the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and materials of a product or its ornamentation» (http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1073791345&type=RESOURCES), which in German judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann's opinion allows Apple to monopolise designs with «minimalist, modern form», i e, a smooth rectangle with rounded corners (http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/09/german-court-upholds-injunction-against-samsung-galaxy-tab-10-1/). No wonder the business-link goes on to say that such a registration «can be a very valuable piece of intellectual property that you can license or sell» ! Presumably Apple has already registered the Platonic and Archimedean solids as their own designs, so that all competing firms can be blocked for the foreseeable future, at least in the EU, if the investigation adumbrated by Señor Almunia does not put a stop to these absurdities. All hail our Cupertinian masters ; may their realm exist forever and ever !...

    Henri

  12. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    Oh dear.

    So the EU thinks that patenting anything you can think of about your products, however trivial and then sueing the shit out of anyone who dares to make anything vaguely similar is anticompetitive practise?

    Oops, there goes Apple's business model.....

  13. Asher Pat
    Thumb Down

    No, it is Apple's predatory policies that stifle competition

    The Apple-biased media does not mention who started this war - Apple demands monopoly over design that was around since the first photo-frame and, yes, LG Prada, etc.

    So who exactly started this mortal fight in order to preven ANY compeition, aye fanboys?

  14. cloudgazer
    Thumb Down

    This is specifically about Samsung's abuse of FRAND

    The key is in the phrase 'involving 3G standards patents.' Really Reg, you can do better than this. The way you've reported it implies that Apple is also under investigation. It isn't.

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