EU takes action to reduce smartphone patent wars


The European Commission made a landmark ruling on Tuesday regarding an infringement claim by Motorola against Apple regarding the use of a standard-essential patent it had licensed.






The Commission decreed that smartphone and tablet makers could no longer seek injunctions against rivals they had signed patent licensing agreements with, a step that should significantly reduce patent wars within the confines of the EU.


In light of the numerous legal disputes with rival manufacturer Apple, the EU's anti-trust enforcement office has also accepted an agreement from Samsung Electronics not to seek injunctions against rivals it currently licenses patents from. The Commission also ordered Motorola to resolve its legal disputes with the Cupertino company outside of the courtrooms through arbitration.


Jaoquin Almunia, the European commissioner in charge of anti-trust enforcement, said decisively that patent wars should not come at the expense of consumers.


"While patent holders should be fairly remunerated for the use of their intellectual property, implementers of such standards should also get access to standardized technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms."

The ruling sets a precedent that will likely be imposed on other manufacturers looking to pursue legal action against rivals within EU member countries. This should hamper the likes of Samsung and Apple, currently suing each other in more than 10 countries, from further widespread litigation - at least in the confines of the EU.


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