Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Italian competition authority accepts Google’s commitments in the investigation concerning Google News in Italy

By Urska Petrovcic, Ph.D candidate at the European University Institute, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley

In January, the Italian Competition Authority announced that it closed its investigation against Google Italy, for the alleged abuse of dominant position. The decision was taken after Google offered commitments, which in the view of the authority sufficiently addressed the anticompetitive concerns raised during the investigation.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The European Commission opens an antitrust investigation against Samsung Electronic

By Urska Petrovcic, Ph.D candidate at the European University Institute, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley

On January 31, the European Commission announced the opening of a formal antitrust investigation against Samsung Electronic, the South Korean producer of smartphones and tablet computers. The case concerns the Samsung’s use of patents which were declared to be essential for the Third Generation (“3G”) mobile and wireless telecommunications system standard. The standard was adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Samsung participated at ETSI’ standardization procedure and made a commitment to grant its patents on Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory (FRAND) terms. In 2011, Samsung sued producers of mobile devices, mainly Apple Inc., its major competitor in the smartphones and tablet computers industry, for patent infringement. Samsung sought to obtain injunctive reliefs in several Member States of the EU. The Commission will investigate whether in doing so, Samsung failed to honor its commitments, making an abusive use of its essential patents that could distort competition in the European mobile device markets. As suggested by the Commission, such conduct could amount to abuse of a dominant position, prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).