The European Commission dealing with Samsung Electronics accused the South Korean company of imposing a dominating stance against its rival, Apple, by filing a complaint against the American company of violating its patent considered to be an industry essential standard.
A “statement of objections” was given by the Commission to Samsung, saying that the South Korean firm is abusing its position.
“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,” Joaquin Almunia, Competition Commissioner said in the issued statement.
Samsung and Apple are in a bitter struggle around the world, in at least 10 countries, as they compete to be the dominant vendor in the highly lucrative smartphone market.
The objection by the Commission is the latest development in the ongoing investigation. Samsung will be given a chance to reply and request a hearing following the notification in writing by the Commission.
Samsung could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its total annual turnover if the Commission will find that it has violated the rules.
Companies in the technology sector are relying more heavily to the European Commission to resolve legal disputes between them over time. Currently, the Commission is also tasked of resolving a case between Microsoft and Google.
The ongoing case involving Samsung is associated with its standard-essential patents related to European Union’s 3G UMTS standard. According to the Commission, Samsung agreed to license the patents fairly with rivals before it was adopted in the continent. With its dispute with Apple however, Samsung began seeking injunction in 2011 in seveal member states of the EU, accusing the American smartphone maker of violating these patents. The Commission began hearing the case earlier in the year.
Samsung issued a statement as regards the Commission’s statement saying it would review the accusation and “firmly defend ourselves against any misconceived allegations”.
The South Korean electronics company believes that the Commission’s statement will be reversed, and that it has obeyed all the applicable European Union antitrust laws in the region.