Posted by jari biru Posted on 23:15:00 with No comments
Apple iPhone 4S (Verizon Wireless)
Samsung was dealt another blow in its patent battle against Apple this week after a court in the Netherlands ruled that Samsung is not allowed to pursue injunctions on "essential" patents if Cupertino is willing to negotiate a licensing deal.
The Hague court found that Samsung cannot pursue a ban on the iPhone in the Netherlands as long as Apple is willing to negotiate with Samsung on a licensing deal. As the European Commission noted this week, Apple is indeed willing to discuss patent deals with its rivals, though nothing has actually been agreed upon.
At issue is something known as FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing obligations, which are intended to keep major corporations in check and avoid abusive patent-related behavior. Basically, if a company holds a patent on a technology that is essential to a particular industry, they should make every effort to license that technology, even to major rivals.
Since Samsung's complaint deals with 3G/UMTS technology that is essential to cell phones, FRAND would apply here. As patent blogger Florian Mueller wrote, today's ruling reaffirms an October ruling on the same topic.
In a statement, a Samsung spokesman said today's ruling still "provides Samsung with a legal basis to move forward with the protection of our patent rights."
"We look forward to further demonstrating Apple's infringement of our patents in the technical hearings into this matter, which are due to be held in the coming weeks," he continued. "Samsung has and will continue to stand ready to meet its obligations in licensing its technology on fair and reasonable terms."
As Mueller noted, Samsung's efforts to have the iPhone 4S banned in France and Italy have been struck down on similar grounds. Samsung pulled its iPhone 4S injunction request from German courts, meanwhile, but reserves the right to reignite that battle.
These rulings come as the European Commission is working on a formal investigation into whether Samsung has used its patents to "distort competition" in the European mobile market.