John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

ITC Investigates Samsung Over Standards-Essential Patents

clouseau_380x2852013 is going to be a busy year for Samsung legal. The list of investigations and litigation facing the company — pending and in progress — is a long one, and growing longer by the day.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said Thursday that it has agreed to investigate Samsung for possible trade violations, following a complaint by Ericsson. The network-equipment manufacturer alleges that Samsung has infringed a number of its mobile technology patents by continuing to sell a number of smartphones, tablets and TVs without a proper patent-licensing agreement. And it wants the ITC to ban their importation.

Further complicating matters: A similar complaint brought by Samsung against Ericsson late last year. In it, Samsung argued that some of Ericsson’s telecommunications network equipment violate a handful of Samsung patents.

It’s worth noting that most of the patents at issue in this spat are standards-essential ones, which their holders are obligated to license under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Both Ericsson and Samsung allege one another have refused to do so. And those allegations come at a time of increased regulatory scrutiny of standards-essential patents. Indeed, in its recent consent decree with Google, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission told Google that it cannot seek to ban competing products using patents it licensed under a FRAND agreement.

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