24 February 2012

The EU Commission, the Smartphone Combatants, and their Interplay on SEP and FRAND

On the ksnh::law blog we just issued a series of two postings titled "EU Commission’s Approach to Standard-essential Patents and FRAND sharpened by ‘Smartphone War’" to explain the political attitude and legal initiatives of the EU Commission (part 1) and the way the various smartphone combatants follow their not at all altruistic tactics in this regard (part 2).

In these articles we look at how the various players of the so called 'smartphone war' trigger the EU Commission's antitrust policy aiming at keeping technological markets defined by standards freely accessible by FRAND commitments of proprietors of standard-essential patents. On the other hand side, the bitterly competing tech giants involved are very tactically trying to utilize the EU Commission's ability and willingness (see e.g. this speech of Commissioner Almunia) to impose severe penalties on abusers of standard-essential patents to their own advantage.

For example, the EU Commission only recently announced to open formal investigations against Samsung for disturbing the mobile device market by using its 3G/UMTS standard-essential patents contrary to their FRAND commitment vis-a-vis ETSI. Motorola, in turn, might be threatened with the same fate if the EU Commission will comprehend the complaints of rivals Apple and Microsoft (see here and here) against the ICT firm with the large patent portfolio that will now be taken over by Google after the EU Commission's approval.

For our German readers, the following two postings on our German language blog ksnh::jur cover more or less the same content, albeit differently compiled: