EU set to charge Samsung in antitrust case -- report

The European Union's competition chief says the formal filing will be coming "very soon."

The European Union is expected to file an antitrust case against Samsung very soon.

According to Reuters, which spoke with the European Union competition chief Joaquin Almunia, his office will "issue a statement of objections very soon" against Samsung. Almunia didn't say what would be included in those objections, but the move follows a year-long investigation into Samsung's patent practices.

The European Commission -- the executive arm of the EU -- announced in November 2011 that it had launched a preliminary investigation into Samsung's patent policies . Just two months later, the Commission announced a formal investigation into whether Samsung had used wireless patents as an anticompetitive tool , in violation of its commitment to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

Samsung holds a wide array of wireless patents that have been deemed standard and essential. Those patents are required to be offered to competitors on a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) basis. In January, the Commission said that Samsung had "sought injunctive relief in various Member States' courts against competing mobile device makers based on alleged infringements of certain of its patent rights which it has declared essential to implement European mobile telephony standards."

The Commission added at the time that it would "investigate, in particular, whether in doing so Samsung has failed to honor its irrevocable commitment given in 1998 to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to license any standard essential patents relating to European mobile telephony standards on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms."

Earlier this week, Samsung announced that it had dropped requests to ban Apple products across several European countries , including Germany, the U.K., and France. Here is Samsung's full statement from earlier this week:

Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. In this spirit, 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.

Although Samsung is fine with Apple products staying on store shelves, Foss Patents' Florian Mueller noted that the company is still suing Apple for compensation.

CNET has contacted Samsung for comment on the latest developments. We will update this story when we hear back from Samsung.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

 

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