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EU: Commission solidifies IP rules with Samsung, Motorola cases

 |  June 18, 2014

The European Commission quietly released a competition policy brief earlier this month to elaborate on the application of two recent patent cases to the competition regulator’s policy on Intellectual Property.

In the release, the Commission elaborates on how two cases involving Samsung and Google’s Motorola have helped shaped the EU’s patent rules and response to cases involving standard-essential patents. The cases, the Commission says, set two crucial precedents and “legal certainty” in industries that involve SEPs.

”[The cases] constitute a guide for Member State courts, as well as to standard-setting organizations, on the interpretation of EU competition rules regarding the enforcement of FRAND-encumbered SEPs,” the brief says.

In the Samsung case, the company sought legal action against rival Apple in various jurisdictions for patent infringement, despite Apple being considered a “willing licensee” of Samsung patents. The matter was probed by the Commission, resulting in Samsung agreeing not to pursue further injunctions in the EU regarding SEPs for mobile devices for the next five years.

In the Motorola case, the Google-owned company also sought injunctions against Apple, also considered a willing licensee; the Commission, in this case, had previously voiced concerns that Google’s acquisition of Motorola could lead the company to leverage its SEPs against rivals. The Commission found Motorola to be abusing its dominant position because it sought injunction against a willing licensee for SEPs.

Both cases, the Commission says, streamline the EU’s rules concerning intellectual property and patent infringement, and “confirm the Commission’s balanced approach with respect to IP rights and competition.”

”In concrete terms, these decisions clarify that SEP holders should not abuse their market power by ‘holding up’ willing licensees with injunctions,” the regulator writes.

Full content: Europa

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