Press conference by Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC, on the use by two producers of phones of standard essential patents
Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, gave a press conference on the use by two producers of phones of standard essential patents. The Commission accepted legally binding commitments by Samsung Electronics on standard essential patent injunctions. The EC rendered commitments offered by Samsung Electronics (Samsung) legally binding under EU antitrust rules. According to these commitments, Samsung would not seek injunctions in Europe on the basis of its standard essential patents (SEPs) for smartphones and tablets against licensees who signed up to a specified licensing framework. Under this framework, any dispute over what were fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (so-called "FRAND") terms for the SEPs in question would be determined by a court, or if both parties agreed, by an arbitrator. The commitments therefore provided a "safe harbour" for all potential licensees of the relevant Samsung SEPs. Indeed, potential licensees that signed up to the licensing framework would be protected against SEP-based injunctions by Samsung. The Commission also took a prohibition decision in a separate investigation concerning Motorola. The EC found that Motorola Mobility infringed EU competition rules by misusing standard essential patents. It consequently adopted a decision which found that Motorola Mobility's (Motorola) seeking and enforcement of an injunction against Apple before a German court on the basis of a smartphone standard essential patent (SEP) constituted an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules in view of the particular circumstances in which the injunction was used. The Commission therefore ordered Motorola to eliminate the negative effects resulting from it.