• US Justice Department to End its Probe on Samsung's Use of Essential Patents

    The US Department of Justice recently said it will be closing an investigation into Samsung’s use of deemed standard essential patents as a tool against other corporations. It does promise to monitor the company’s ongoing patent litigation though. Although the Justice Department will not take action against Samsung at this time, it did admonish the company’s use of declared essential patents as tools to more favorable licensing terms according to Reuters.

    In a statement released by the DoJ, the agency noted a number of issues arise when using SEPs to block the competition from selling products. This brings up questions regarding anticompetitive strategies. The following was mentioned regarding the matter:

    While there are certain circumstances where an exclusion order as a remedy for infringement of such patents could be appropriate, in many cases there is a risk that the patent holder could use the threat of an exclusion order to obtain licensing terms that are more onerous than would be justified by the value of the technology itself, effectively exploiting the market power obtained through the standards-setting process.
    Based on what the DoJ and the US Patent and Trademark Office said in January, the companies that own SEPs should “rarely” use the properties in court. The recent announcement and ensuing DoJ investigations stems from a successful Samsung patent infringement complaint leveled against Apple through the International Trade Commission. In that case, Samsung’s US Patent No. 7,706,348 for UMTS wireless technology was leveraged to win an inclusion order against older iPhone and iPad models.

    The Cupertino California company granted a reprieve from the injunction however as President Barack Obama vetoed the ITC decision in August of 2013 over concerns that SEPs would be used to gain “undue leverage” over competitors. Based on that decision, the DoJ said the following:

    The Antitrust Division is therefore closing its investigation into Samsung's conduct, but will continue to monitor further developments in this area.
    Samsung’s use of SEPs in patent suits with Apple and other tech companies have raised a concern in a number of regions over the strategy’s legality.

    Source: Department of Justice (Press Release) via Reuters
    This article was originally published in forum thread: US Justice Department to End its Probe on Samsung's Use of Essential Patents started by Akshay Masand View original post
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