AMSTERDAM - Samsung Electronics Co. has offered not to launch any patent lawsuits over key mobile telephone technology in Europe for the coming five years, in hopes of avoiding a fine from the European Commission.
The Commission reported Thursday the South Korean company's settlement offer and called for interested parties — such as rivals Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. — to respond.
The Commission's top regulator Joaquin Almunia believes Samsung tried to use its patent portfolio as a tool to stifle competition, seeking injunctions to keep Apple products that violated Samsung patents off the market.
Almunia said Thursday enforcing patents is a legitimate business practice. But once a technology becomes an industry standard, its owner must offer others a chance to license it on reasonable terms — something Samsung failed to do.