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EU: Almunia not satisfied with Samsung patent litigation offer

 |  December 9, 2013

Samsung’s offer to not bring rivals to court over patent infringement over the next five years is an unsatisfactory offer to European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, the regulator said Monday in a speech.

Samsung will likely have to offer more to end the Commission’s probe into the world’s top smartphone manufacturer, and whether the company’s infringed competition rules in taking rivals to court over patent disputes.

In addition to the five-year offer, Samsung proposed to discuss licensing fees with its rivals for one year, and to let a court settle patent disputes should those discussions lead to a disagreement.

Almunia told reporters that rivals’ feedback will be considered, suggesting the response from Samsung competitors has been less than positive, though he did not elaborate.

The investigation into Samsung overlaps as Samsung and rival Apple take each other to court over disputes over their smartphone patents; cases in more than 10 nations around the globe have been filed.

Almunia offered a speech in Paris Monday to discuss the role of patents – and, more broadly, intellectual property – in EU competition policy, announcing that he does not agree with the view that competition regulation and the IP community have “misaligned objectives.”

In mentioning Samsung in his speech, Almunia noted that the company’s offers have been market-tested, but need improvements. The competition chief also touched upon Google’s Motorola buyout and Microsoft’s recently-approved acquisition of Nokia, and how those mergers will impact patent litigation, though said that Nokia’s plans to keep its patent portfolio – seen as a threat that Nokia may charge more to license those patents – fall outside the Commission’s jurisdiction of merger reviews. Still, the regulator warned Nokia not to turn into a patent troll.

Full Content: Reuters

Read the full speech here.

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