Published January 31, 2012
| I.B. Times
Claims that the Galaxy maker was being probed broke via Reuters on Tuesday. In its report Reuters suggested that EU regulators are currently investigating whether Samsung broke any anti-trust laws during its slew of patent infringement battles.
Responding to the International Business UK's request for confirmation Samsung representatives moved to quash Reuter's report commenting: "Samsung Electronics has not received any formal notice and is unable to discuss the matter at this time."
EU representatives had not responded to requests for confirmation. Though if Reuters' report is still accurate, the anti-trust probe will explore whether Samsung had broken its 1998 pledge to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
"The (European) Commission will investigate, in particular, whether in doing so (seeking injunctions on patent infringements in 2011) Samsung has failed to honor its irrevocable commitment given in 1998 to the European Telecommunications Standards," Reuters reported an EU executive as saying.
The company's ongoing legal tussles with chief competitor Apple were specifically highlighted in Reuters' report. Samsung is currently engaged in legal battles with Apple in 10 countries including, Japan, France, Australia and the United States.
The patent-war subsequently spread and by the end of 2011 both companies were seeking injunctions to block the sale of their competitor's devices in Europe.
"I will receive comments from the case team towards the end of the first quarter. I do not expect anything sooner. Let us see," Reuters reported EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia as saying earlier in January.
UPDATE: The Commission has since released a press release confirming: "The European 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 (ETSI), used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation."