Samsung may have to pay a massive fine in Europe for attempting to use standard-essential patents to ban the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad in Europe.
The European Commission started its investigation into Samsung back in January and it states that Samsung may be fined up to 10% of its global turnover. This is based on Samsung’s revenue in 2011, which equals about $148.9 billion, so Samsung may pay up to $14.9 billion in fines.
The Commission stated that Samsung, on numerous occasions, attempted to use SEPs, including patents for 3G, to get Apple products banned in Europe. The Commission also stated that Apple had offered payments to Samsung to use the standard-essential patents, but the two companies couldn’t agree on prices.
Just days before the European Commission publicly announced its investigation into Samsung, Samsung had announced that it has withdrawn its injunctions to ban Apple products in Europe. Samsung made the following 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.”
The European commission released a statement saying that allowing companies with SEPs to ban sales of products because of a difference in price agreement would amount to a hold-up because ”access to those patents which are standard-essential is a precondition for any company to sell interoperable products in the market”.
Samsung has to respond to the European Commission’s state of objection before the European Commission can decide which course of action it will take, whether it’d be in a form of a fine or another punishment.