US drops antitrust probe of Samsung over patents

February 7, 2014
Pedestrians walk past a logo of Samsung Electronics at the company's headquarters in Seoul on January 24, 2014

US Department of Justice officials on Friday dropped an antitrust investigation into whether Samsung abused essential mobile gadget patents in its ongoing battle with Apple.

At issue was whether the South Korean consumer electronics giant tried to gain advantage using "standards-essential patents" on technology that considered a basic requirement in smartphones or tablets.

Since such technology is needed to make devices viable based on industry standards, rights to use it are to be made available at fair market rates, according to marketplace rules.

The DoJ antitrust division began investigating last year when Samsung convinced the US International Trade Commission to ban certain iPhone and iPad models from the US based on SEPs.

In June, the commission said it issued a "limited exclusion order" for certain devices made by Apple, in a victory for Samsung.

The scenario raised a concern that Samsung might be "exploiting the market power obtained through the standards-setting process," the DoJ said in a release.

The White House weighed in and had the US Trade Representative overturn the ITC band on certain iPads and iPhones.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman announced the rare move—a blow to South Korean Samsung—saying in a letter he had decided to "disapprove" the exclusion order by the ITC.

It was the first time since 1987 that a US administration had vetoed a product ban ordered by the trade panel and comes amid a bitter legal battle between Apple and Samsung.

"As a result of the USTR's action, the Antitrust Division has determined that no further action is required at this time," Justice department officials said in the release.

The DoJ said it will continue to track developments in the patent wrangling between Samsung and the California-based maker of iPads, iPhones, iPods and Macintosh computers.

Explore further: SKorean antitrust watchdog probing Samsung

Related Stories

SKorean antitrust watchdog probing Samsung

September 6, 2012

(AP)—South Korea's antitrust watchdog said Thursday it has launched an investigation into whether Samsung Electronics Co. is abusing its dominant position in the wireless market to disadvantage Apple Inc.

Some Samsung imports banned in US patent case

August 10, 2013

The US International Trade Commission blocked imports of some older model Samsung mobile devices following complaints by Apple that the South Korean company had violated its patents.

Recommended for you

Schlieren images reveal supersonic shock waves

August 27, 2015

NASA researchers in California are using a modern version of a 150-year-old German photography technique to capture images of shock waves created by supersonic airplanes. Over the past five years scientists from NASA's Armstrong ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VENDItardE
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 07, 2014
f&*(ing nobama strikes again

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.