Korea FTC Grants Samsung Use of Standard Essential Patents Against Apple

Samsung is not infringing Korea’s fair competition rules, the country’s Fair Trade Commission has found, after analyzing the patent disputes between the South Korean tech giant and Apple, reports the Korea Times.

Apple vs Samsung2

Also, Apple may be liable for a violation of Samsung’s wireless patents, as Samsung is not violating the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licencing principles.

“What’s important is how sincerely the two companies tried to resolve the patent dispute, but it is difficult to believe that Apple was sincere in negotiating with Samsung to iron out their differences,” an FTC official said. “Therefore, we don’t think Samsung unfairly used the lawsuit to hinder Apple’s business activities.”

The Korean FTC has been investigating the patent dispute between the two parties since the summer of 2012, when Apple filed a complaint against Samsung claiming that the latter had used its standard-essential patents for third-generation 3G mobile communications technology to abuse its market position, which would have been against fair competition rules.

An interesting part of the dispute is that Samsung’s claims were rejected by US and European regulators, but the Korean FTC sided with Apple’s rival. Commenting on the matter, Florian Müller of Foss Patents ironically says that the “West failed to take much sharper decisions”, as the “KFTC ruling appears to be far more SEP- (standard-essential patent) holder friendly than anything the DoJ, FTC or European Commission ever indicated in this context.”