In an unexpected move, Samsung announced today that it will withdraw its patent lawsuits seeking to block Apple’s iDevices in European countries, Bloomberg reports. The decision comes, in just hours after Judge Lucy Koh rejected Apple’s request to block 26 Samsung products in the US.
Samsung’s decision will put an end to all patent lawsuits filed against Apple in Germany, the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands aimed at obtaining a sales ban of Apple’s products, but the South Korean manufacturer will continue litigation seeking damages for intellectual property violation. Simply put, Samsung isn’t interested in seeing its biggest customer’s products blocked, as this could mean a significant drop in future orders, but it is rather after obtaining a court ruling that Apple’s products willfully infringe some of its patents.
“Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice,” the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.
We strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court,” Seoul-based Samsung added.
Just a quick note here: some of the cases — not subject to withdrawal — involve standard-essential patents for wireless communication, which according to the market rules, are usually licensed on fair terms.
The above patent infringement claims have triggered an EU antitrust investigation — at Apple’s request — examining whether Samsung broke any agreement to license them on fair terms.