Samsung and Apple seem to be Batman and the Joker, locked in an endless IP struggle in which one side cannot truly defeat the other. But while the battle rages on in the U.S. (to the benefit of American IP lawyers), Samsung’s battle in Europe seems to be drawing to a momentary close.
Bloomberg reports that the European Union (EU) will only require Samsung to make minor changes to win approval from regulators in its offer to settle an antitrust case. The case concerns key patents related to mobile phones.
According to Bloomberg sources, the EU plans to tell Samsung that it received mostly positive feedback from rivals and other interested parties concerning the company’s plan to stop seeking injunctions in Europe. Through the terms of the settlement, Samsung may need to specify how it plans to handle future IP disputes concerning smartphone technology.
The potential settlement would end a two-year EU probe into Samsung’s actions. The settlement could also help Samsung avoid heavy fines for overuse of patent litigation to preserve its current 32 percent European market share.
On Dec. 9, EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said “improvements” must be made in the way Samsung pursues its rivals in patent litigation. Almunia also said that he’s targeting the “rules of the game” to prevent companies from engaging in unnecessary litigation rather than companies themselves. Samsung, he said, is simply “the first of these cases we will probably decide.”
The EU initially opened a probe into Samsung’s dealings in January 2012. The probe rose as a result of 2011 injunctions the company filed against Apple concerning mobile phone technology patents. Regulators ruled that Apple was willing to license the technology in question from Samsung, and Samsung’s injunctions violated EU competition rules.
And the battle rages on. Check out these past stories in the Apple-Samsung IP fight: