Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. is being probed by European Union antitrust regulators for possible monopoly abuse over licensing of patents to other mobile-phone manufacturers.
The European Commission said it will investigate whether Samsung broke a commitment to license any standard essential patents for phones on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.” It said it acted after Samsung made claims of patent infringements by rivals in European courts last year.
Apple Inc. and Samsung have filed lawsuits against each other in at least 10 countries, according to Samsung. The legal battle between Cupertino, California-based Apple and its closest competitor in tablet computers is intensifying as an increasing number of consumers use devices such as tablets and smartphones to surf websites, play games and download music.
The commission “has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Samsung Electronics has abusively, and in contravention of a commitment it gave to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets,” the Brussels-based authority agency said in an e-mailed statement today.
Samsung today lost a bid to overturn a German sales ban on its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computers obtained by Apple Inc. in an intellectual property dispute.
--Editors: Peter Chapman, Andrew Clapham
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