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EU Charges Samsung With Abusing Vital Telecoms Patent 96

Dupple sends this news from Reuters: "The European Commission charged Samsung Electronics on Friday with abusing its dominant position in seeking to bar rival Apple from using a patent deemed essential to mobile phone use. The Commission sent a 'statement of objections' to the South Korean group, with its preliminary view that Samsung was not acting fairly. 'Intellectual property rights are an important cornerstone of the single market. However, such rights should not be misused when they are essential to implement industry standards, which bring huge benefits to businesses and consumers alike,' Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in statement."
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EU Charges Samsung With Abusing Vital Telecoms Patent

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  • And yet... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 ( 1902712 )

    they do nothing to Apple and their rounded corners?

    • by jcoy42 ( 412359 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:07PM (#42363959) Homepage Journal

      I just hope they don't make Samsung post an apology on their website.

    • "Patents are important! Unless they are for stuff which matters!"

      We can't have patents on those can we?

      Just stop all patents or accept the stupidity of it.

      • by aliquis ( 678370 ) <dospam@gmail.com> on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:15PM (#42364047) Homepage


        Comment on OSnews:
        http://www.osnews.com/thread?546002 [osnews.com]

        Apple sue nearly every manufacturer over generic shapes and actions, and the government just give a green light for dumb intellectual property to be registered.

        Samsung sue Apple over actual inventions, and they get investigated.

        This world is going to the shits.

        (yes I know Samsung's patents were dubious because of being FRAND, and in an ideal world they shouldn't have used them. But in an ideal world they shouldn't have had to counter sue because Apple generic design patents).

        I agree. This is what patents are for after all. Why only have shitty patents for things not important and punish people who've got the real stuff? Make sense? Remove them already.

    • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by harperska ( 1376103 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @05:47PM (#42364379)

      Why does this stupid fandroid argument still get modded insightful on /.? Set aside the ignorance on the difference between design patents (which shouldn't really be patents in the first place, but have to be registered as patents because you can't copyright an industrial design for some reason) and FRAND patents. Apple did not generically patent all "rounded corners" as the fandroids claim. They patented which corners were rounded, and by how much. Compare the iPhone to the Nokia Lumia. Both are minimalist designs. Both have rounded corners. But the Lumia doesn't look anything like the iPhone, thus not infringing on the "rounded corners" design patent, while also clearly showing that having the exact same rounded corners as the iPhone is not a necessity for a smartphone.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is pretty much the situation with most patents - the fandroids have no idea how to read one, much less what it applies to. That is why the outrage - it is easy to get upset about something you don't understand, but think you understand (ie. like the rounded corners, where not ALL rounded corners are infringing).

        Same thing applies to software vs. hardware patents. There is no way to distinguish them, so you have to ban them all.

    • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:18PM (#42364775)

      This is fundamentally a FRAND issue. Samsung submitted their patents as FRAND, Apple did not. FRAND places limitations on what Samsung can do with their patents in exchange for a simplified licensing system that gives them long term royalties from virtually every mobile device manufacturer.

      Anyhow, going after Apple with FRAND patents was always a risky strategy, and the EU charges are exactly why.

      • Anyhow, going after Apple with FRAND patents was always a risky strategy, and the EU charges are exactly why.

        Samsung used FRAND patents to counter obvious patents and failed. Clearly, the patent system is total bullshit. This is why we can't have nice things, right? If TPTB can't handle the responsibility of creating patent law that works, then perhaps we shouldn't have any at all.

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        ...in exchange for a simplified licensing system that gives them long term royalties from virtually every mobile device manufacturer.

        Virtually every mobile device manufacturer, except Apple, apparently.

        What is the point in having a FRAND patent if people can choose to not license it and be free from legal action?

    • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @12:13AM (#42367009)

      The basic concept is essential vs non essential patents. Essential patents are supposed to be licenced out so as not to be used as a monopolization tool, where as stuff that isnt essential to compete , not so much.

      Considering "rounded corners" wasnt even a patent, and its entirely possible to put out a phone with other shaped corners, then no this is not a legitimate comparison at all.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Now that is a blatant lie. Rounded corners are essential in engineering design of plastic appliances due to fabrication constraints, material efficiency and better wear and impact characteristics. Apple put in the bullshit patent specifically because ten of thousands of plastic appliances have rounded corners by virtue of design requirements, so the bullshit patent could purposefully be used to obstruct other manufacturer. A straight up psychopathic business scheme.

    • The rounded corners, they do nothing!
  • by zebslash ( 1107957 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:55PM (#42363823)

    Indeed, "such rights should not be misused". So why granting bogus patents on obvious features that lead to such abuses? They should fix the system, not try workarounds!

    • Ah the lament of the Apple hater. Everything Apple does is backwards and wrong until they succeed in the market then it becomes obvious!

      • Where do you read the word "Apple" in my text? Your reply is idiotic, because I would have said the same for ANY company, including Samsung. But do not let the facts go in your way.

  • Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:55PM (#42363825)

    Apple tried to lowball the licensing at less than a quarter of the rate others were paying. Of course Samsung is going to say No to Apple.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SirGeek ( 120712 )
      Yet you don't see the apple fans talking about THAT now, Do you ?
      • Yet you don't see the apple fans talking about THAT now, Do you ?

        They're too busy licking their phones or queuing to buy a <Phone-they-just-bought-three-weeks-ago-for-two-and-a-half-times-the-actual-market-worth-which-was-already-behind-the-curve-when-they-bought-it>S

    • by Anonymous Coward

      [citation needed]

    • Personally, I don't think FRAND goes far enough, because it just leads to squabbling about what is "fair" and "reasonable". Obviously, the party who owns the patent and the party who wants to make a new standards compliant device will disagree as to how much is fair. From the perspective of the new entrant, the patent owner may have fleeced all previous licensees with regards to the "F" and the "R" in order to maintain a higher across-the-board licencing rate under the guise of "ND". Of course, from the per

      • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Intropy ( 2009018 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @06:01PM (#42364531)

        I wouldn't go that far. It's good to encourage companies to contribute to standards so that we actually do get standards and not every company for itself. But I think it would be a good idea for open licensing terms to be part of any standards submission. So Samsung can suggest patented tech X as a standard, but that needs to come along with a statement that X will be licensed for 3 cents per device to anyone who wants to use it. The license should cover all reasonably foreseeable use cases, and any that come up later get decided by the standards body. Nothing would stop Samsung from also offering a different license agreement to anyone, but the standard one would always also be on the table.

      • Great. Why doesn't Apple make their MPEG-4 patents royalty free as well then?
  • So now monopoly powers are now granted solely according to the will of unelected officials? Let me know how that works out for you guys...

  • Great (Score:1, Redundant)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 )

    The Commission sent a 'statement of objections' to the South Korean group, with its preliminary view that Samsung was not acting fairly.

    Samsung then wiped their asses with it and sent it back.

  • This article was brought to you by The Department Of The Blindingly Obvious!

    Those of us who have been paying attention know PERFECTLY WELL that this is what patents are for (ie in practice, not "in theory").

    More often that not a patent is put to one of three uses:

    (1) None at all
    (2) Used to Bludgeon competitors
    (3) Saved for a rainy-day then sold to the highest bidder (who immediately implement Option #2)

    Pretty much NOBODY uses a patent by developing a product using such technicalities and should a compe

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