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EU concerns over mobile patent wars

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 23 Nov 2011 6:41 User comments (1)

EU concerns over mobile patent wars Commissioner says IP rights used as "instrument to restrict competition."
In recent years, a plethora of legal cases involving patents related to mobile device technology have emerged and are showing no sign of going away any time soon. Consumer Electronics firms view rich patent portfolios as crucial to take a piece of the growing pie, but the effect of their constant legal challenges is being questioned by the European Commission.

European Commissioner for Competition, Joaquin Almunia, expressed concerns about how patents can be used to stifle competition in the market. The European Commission requested that Apple and Samsung send it details on patents used as standards in the industry this month.

"We requested information from both Apple and Samsung. We have not yet received the answers. We need to look at this because IP rights can be used as a distortion of competition but we will need to look at the answers," Almunia told reporters.

"In particular, in the IT sector, it is obvious it is not the only case. Apple and Samsung is only one case where IP rights can be used as an instrument to restrict competition. Standardisation and IP rights are two instruments that in this new IT sector can be used as a tool to abuse."

Being the EU's antitrust chief, Almunia's comments are sure to be noted by lawyers for handset makers, as the European Commission has the power to fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover for breaching competition rules in the European Union.

Firms can gain advantages over rivals by pushing for import bans in court, using patent infringement as justification for such a measure, which could have a devastating effect on any firm its enforced on.

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1 user comment

124.11.2011 0:09

Wow, are they just realizing this? I'm surprised no one from the U.S. government has raised concerns before now. I guess they are paid enough not to question.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Nov 2011 @ 9:41

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