Samsung offers not to launch patent lawsuits in Europe for five years

BRUSSELS, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest maker of smartphones, has offered not to lodge patent lawsuits over wireless technology for five years, European regulators said Thursday.

Samsung's concession came as the European Commission has focused its probe on suspicions that Samsung abused its right to the so-called standard essential patents (SEPs) in pushing for lawsuits against its competitors.

Since late last year, European regulators have looked into whether Samsung may have violated EU antitrust rules.

The Commission said in a statement that Samsung has "offered to abstain from seeking injunctions for mobile SEPs for a period of five years against any company that agrees to a particular licensing framework."

It added that interested parties are able to make comments on proposals made by Samsung within one month.

Samsung and Apple Inc. have been engaged in heated patent disputes in about 30 cases in 10 countries since April 2011 when the U.S. company accused Samsung Electronics of copying its iPhone and iPad. Samsung fought back with a series of countersuits.

Standards-essential patents cover areas that are crucial in order to comply with industry standards, such as third-generation (3G) wireless technology. Unlike other patents, they should be licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, known as FRAND.

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