|By Maureen O'Gara||
|December 19, 2012 08:15 AM EST||
Samsung said Tuesday that it will drop its attempts to get Apple products banned anywhere in Europe using its standards-essential patents (SEPs).
It's not dropping its infringement suits, but will limit its SEP claims to monetary damages. It will still seek injunctions for Apple's alleged infringement of its non-SEP patents.
Samsung claimed its action was "unilateral and voluntary," but FOSS Patents assumes that the European Commission, which has been investigating Samsung's use of SEPs, leaned sufficiently on the Korean company for it to change its legal strategy ahead of a statement of objections (SO).
The blog says, "There can be no doubt whatsoever that the European Commission was behind this. Samsung would never have done this voluntarily, especially not in jurisdictions such as Germany that do not rule out SEP-based injunctions at all. Nor are there signs of a partial or complete settlement (otherwise there would have been a joint announcement, with Apple also dropping some claims). The only plausible explanations for this unilateral withdrawal involve the European Commission."
It also says, "What's unclear at this point is whether Samsung has a gentlemen's agreement with the European Commission that the antitrust investigation will be dropped (without remedies, or maybe with only soft remedies) if it withdraws its European requests for injunctions (again, it does not have to, and apparently has not, withdraw its pursuit of FRAND compensation). If there is such an agreement, then the European Commission will soon comment favorably on Samsung's announcement and close the case. If there is no such agreement, then the investigation may continue and Samsung may still be fined, but it would certainly be in much better shape than if it had carried on with its enforcement, especially in Germany."
Samsung's move, which the company attributed to ensuring that consumers had a choice, came hours after a California court said it would not ban Samsung products that a jury found this summer violated Apple's design and technical patents, none of which are standards-essential.
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