Apple filed a response with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Wednesday, in which it accuses Samsung of filing a motion to strike to avoid “inconvenient facts” in regard to the company’s conflicting decisions to withdraw SEP-related litigation in Europe but to continue their pursuit of identical claims in America.
In its filing, an opposition to Samsung’s motion to strike new facts in the parties’ ongoing ITC case, Apple takes the opportunity to point out “highly inconvenient facts” surrounding the South Korean company’s recent withdrawal of EU import ban requests.
As noted by FOSS Patent’s Florian Mueller, it appears that Samsung’s willingness to connect SEP injunction litigation with consumer interest has ensnarled the firm’s forward progress in its international legal battle against Apple.
In December Samsung dropped injunction applications against Apple in five EU countries. The move came before a potential European Commission antitrust investigation involving alleged misuse of declared standard-essential patents.
At the time of the withdrawl, Samsung made this statement: “In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard-essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.”
The commission formally charged Samsung with a formal antitrust complaint just days after, alleging the tech giant abused its dominant market position in legal disputes against Apple. In the complaint, the commission stated that Apple “has shown itself to be willing to negotiate a FRAND license for the SEPs, then recourse to injunctions harms competition.”
Samsung had said that it had no choice other than to initiate legal action, as it said Apple was unwilling to negotiate for licensing under FRAND terms.
In the Wednesday filing, Apple directly questioned what seemed to be Samsung’s conflicting legal policy, U.S. vs. Europe:
Simply put, Samsung’s pursuit of exclusionary relief on declared-essential patents in this investigation is equally as harmful to American consumers as Samsung’s pursuit of injunctions on declared-essential patents in Europe was harmful to European consumers. Having withdrawn its injunction requests in Europe, Samsung should now withdraw its exclusion-order request here. If it does not, Apple respectfully submits that the Commission should give the new facts set out in Apple’s Notice due consideration as the Commission adjudicates the issues under review and the public interest.
The ITC will review Apple’s filing, and offer a ruling.