As if Samsung doesn't have enough on its plate right now, considering the international litigation with Apple and other smartphone makers over patent infringement, the European Union announced Tuesday it is launching an inquiry into the company's 3G patent licensing practices.
The Los Angeles Times reported regulators are wondering whether Samsung's failure to license its patents has "distort[ed] competition in European mobile device markets." Central to the inquiry is whether Samsung violated a 14-year-old commitment made to the European Telecommunications Standard Institute to license patents relating to said standards in a "fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory manner."
Regulators suggest that Samsung's requests for injunctive relief against rival phone makers may amount to a violation of that commitment, which would in turn violate EU antitrust laws. However, the European Commission pointed out:
The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.