Samsung has come under the watchful eye of the United States Department of Justice for their alleged abuse of FRAND-pledged standard-essential patents. The company has used them in litigation against Apple, and recently used them to sue the company over the 4G wireless technology used in the iPhone 5.
This time around, the United States Department of Justice is preliminary probing Samsung, which could lead to a full-blown investigation. If it finds an unlawful use of standard-essential wireless patents on Samsung’s part, it’ll clear Apple of a possible U.S. import ban sought by Samsung because the iPhone maker had refused to accept a Samsung-suggested per-device royalty fee of 2.4 percent (Apple wanted to pay half a cent per device).
Apple, in its statement on public interest considerations relevant to the investigation of Samsung’s complaint, filed with the ITC on Monday, writes in the filing that “the United States Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the manner in which Samsung has used – or misused – its declared-essential patents”.
Bloomberg had reported in June that the Justice Department was going to scrutinize Samsung’s handling of the of standard-essential patents.
The European Union launched a probe earlier this year into Samsung’s handling of standard-essential patents, which must be licensed must on fair, reasonable and on non-discriminatory terms, or FRAND. The EU took issue with Samsung’s decade-old promise to license its patents to competitors.