Samsung Under Scrutiny in South Korea After Apple Complaint
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, the country’s competition watchdog, said Thursday that it is investigating a complaint filed by Apple that accuses Samsung of abusing its standards-essential 3G wireless patents. Because Samsung contributed these 3G patents to a global wireless standard, it is obligated to license them under fair and reasonable terms, something Apple claims it has failed to do.
“We are reviewing whether allegations in the complaint lodged by Apple are true,” an FTC official confirmed. “Apple filed a complaint earlier this year that Samsung is breaching fair trade laws.”
The two companies have been sparring over this issue for some time now in a number of countries. And so far things have not gone well for Samsung. It asserted a number of 3G patents against Apple in the pair’s landmark patent trial earlier this summer, but to no avail. And its handling of this particular portion of its IP portfolio is drawing more and more scrutiny. Samsung is currently the subject of a regulatory investigation in the European Union, and sources familiar with the situation say the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also eyeing it for misbehavior.
And that puts Samsung, which was recently found to have violated six of seven Apple patents on iOS device design and software, in a tough spot. That said, the company continues to deny that it has done anything wrong. “Samsung has at all times met its obligations to the fair licensing of its telecommunications standards-related patents,” said a company spokesperson, who declined to confirm whether it is under investigation in South Korea.