In Europe, Samsung Says It Won't Play Dirty With Patent Suits—For Five Years

To try to dodge serious antitrust penalties in Europe, Samsung says it'll stop misusing patents...for a while.

Samsung has proposed a modification to its business practices to mollify the European Union's antitrust gang: The company is going to lay off pursuing the kind of legal injunctions against anyone—including Apple—that it would previously have filed to try to protect some of its core patents. The EU has looked at Samsung's offering and asked for comment.

Here's one: It's just for five years! That's not really a solution at all. It's a squirmy, schoolkid-told-off-on-the-playground non-apology. The EU does seem to be savvy to this, though, and its competition chief Joaquin Alumina has noted that while "enforcing patents through injunctions can be perfectly legitimate," abuses of standard-essential patents must be stopped so that consumers can benefit from more choice of products. If the EU hears good feelings about Samsung's idea, the EU may make the promise legally binding—forcing Samsung to play nice, in effect.

Samsung, which is often accused of IP violations, is trying to avoid a potentially serious fine since the EU has decided Samsung has been abusing its standards-essential patents. Separately Samsung is being accused of spying on sensitive court-only documents on a U.S. patent licensing deal between Apple and Nokia.

[Image: Flickr user opopododo]

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