Samsung sends EU concessions package to avoid antitrust fine

The Korean electronics giant is in hot water over the use of patents in lawsuits against Apple. Now it's offering more in a bid to avoid a massive antitrust fine.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Josh Miller/CNET

Europe's antitrust chief has confirmed the receipt of a new concessions package submitted by Samsung, as part of the company's efforts to end formal antitrust proceedings.

In a speech in New York on Friday, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said: "Last December, we sent Samsung a Statement of Objections which outlined our concern that its conduct was anti-competitive." 

"After lengthy discussions, Samsung has sent us a set of commitments seeking to address our concerns," he said.

Samsung is accused of using numerous patent lawsuits against Apple, its main rival in the smartphone space. EU regulators allege the Korean electronics giant used lawsuits and sales injunctions in various European countries in 2011 against Apple's use of its patents. 

The concessions package could be enough for Samsung to settle with European regulators, which would ultimately see the firm avoid a fine of up to $18.3 billion — or 10 percent of its 2012 global annual revenue.

"The company committed to a standards body to license its standard-essential patents to market participants in return for reasonable remuneration," Almunia said. "But later, the company sought injunctions based on those patents although in our view there was a willing licensee."

He noted that the next step would be to "market test" the commitments, by handing the proposals to rivals and competitors, such as Apple, to gauge whether or not these concessions appease the market.

Almunia explained he hoped this would "bring clarity" on standard-essential patents and injunctions across the industry.

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