By Kim Tae-jong
The anti-trust watchdog on Wednesday rejected claims by Apple that Samsung's counter-patent suit against the U.S. firm violates the country's fair competition rules.
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) concluded that Samsung's claims that Apple infringed on its wireless patents are acceptable, and does not violate the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing principles.
"What's important is how sincerely the two companies tried to resolve the patent dispute, but it is difficult to believe that Apple was sincere in negotiating with Samsung to iron out their differences," an FTC official said. "Therefore, we don't think Samsung unfairly used the lawsuit to hinder Apple's business activities."
The FTC looked into patent disputes between Samsung and Apple after Apple filed a complaint in April 2012, claiming that Samsung's litigation about its standard-essential patents for third-generation (3G) mobile communications technology was an act to abuse its market dominant position which amounts to a violation of fair competition rules.
The complaint was raised as Samsung counter-sued Apple in April 2011, filing federal complaints in courts in Seoul, Tokyo and Germany, alleging that Apple infringed on Samsung's patents for mobile-communications technologies, asking for the ban of several Apple products.
In 2011, Apple filed a complaint with the European Commission, alleging that Samsung violates its fair competition law by abusing its dominant market power and demanding excessively high patent licensing fees for 3G wireless technology patents.
Meanwhile, the FTC found that Samsung tried to abide by the FRAND licensing terms and did not demand excessively high patent license fees.
"Samsung with the standard-essential patents based on the FRAND licensing terms tried to resolve the matter and the level of patent license fee was not so high," the official said. "Samsung's lawsuit is a legitimate act to protect its patent rights."