Samsung is reportedly negotiating a settlement with the European Union over antitrust charges, after being investigated following Apple’s complaints over 3G patents being used offensively. Talks around a potential deal have been underway for several months, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters, though it’s unclear whether Samsung will manage to convince the EU to skip sanctions.
The investigation itself was opened in January 2012, at the height of the Apple/Samsung patent spat. Samsung had retaliated in Europe by attempting to use certain 3G GSM patents the company holds as leverage in the courtroom, despite them being considered licensed under FRAND terms (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory).
That prompted an antitrust complaint by Apple, with suggestions back in December 2012 that charges could be imminent. The antitrust authority took issue with Samsung seeking injunctions against the iPhone and other devices on the grounds of the patents, after Apple argued its South Korean rival was refusing to license as required by law.
“Samsung has been involved in settlement discussions for several months now” the sources claim, and “wants to settle” with the EU. They did not say whether it was likely that Samsung could escape either blame or a fine, the latter potentially reaching up to $17.3bn.
Despite the length of time that the negotiations have been ongoing, the insiders still describe them as “early talks” which means we may not see any results for some months yet. Meanwhile, Samsung isn’t the only company Apple has been accusing of antitrust behavior: the Cupertino firm also complained about Microsoft last year, again over FRAND patent abuse.