Samsung had been attempting to have Apple products banned in Europe, just like Apple had been vying to take Samsung products off the shelves. The difference between the two is that Samsung used standard-essential patents to push for the ban, whereas Apple didn’t. This may cost Samsung $15 billion in fines in the EU region.
Standard-essential patents correspond to such technologies which must be licensed to other parties on fair licensing terms. The vendor owning these patents is bound by law to make sure of this so as to ensure a fair competition in the market.
European Commission is currently looking into Samsung’s use of standard-essential patents, having cited concerns about their fair use by the company. Apple has apparently been using some of these patents, and had offered to reach a licensing deal with Samsung. But Samsung refused, pushing for a ban on Apple products as somewhat of a punishment.
The regulatory authorities in EU affirm that if two vendors are unable to reach a fair licensing deal, a court must overlook their licensing terms to ensure they strike a deal over the use of standard-essential patents. Samsung apparently didn’t take this course in ensuring that it gets a good licensing agreement.
It is on this point that European Commission believes that Samsung may not be playing fair. If the ongoing investigations into Samsung’s conduct prove so, Samsung will be in for a really heavy fine. To be exact, the company will have to cough up a fine of up to 10% of its global revenue. During 2011, this revenue reached $148.9 billion. So, if Samsung is held guilty, the fines can go up to $14.8 billion, certainly not something Samsung would want to happen.
Source: The Guardian