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Samsung drops legal action on Apple sales
[December 18, 2012]

Samsung drops legal action on Apple sales

(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Samsung has dropped a legal attempt to have sales of some Apple products banned in five European countries, apparently after being warned by the European commission against abusing its ownership of patents essential to make devices work with standard services such as 3G networking.

The unexpected boost for Apple in the smartphone patent wars came just hours after it was disappointed in California, where Judge Lucy Koh turned down its request for a US sales ban on 20 Samsung products, despite winning $1bn (pounds 615m) in damages from a jury verdict in August.

The mixed news had little impact on Apple's share price, which continued a gradual rise since it dipped close to $500 on Monday, its lowest point since February. Analysts have cut their rating on the stock and suggested that Apple is cutting production of iPhones, despite the company having trumpeted the sale of 2m iPhone 5 handsets in three days at its introduction in China last weekend.

Samsung decided unilaterally not to seek court injunctions in Germany, the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands over Apple's use of its patents for standards such as 3G. But the lawsuits will continue, with Samsung seeking payment for use of the patents, which Apple has not denied.

The surprise move follows intense scrutiny by the commission's antitrust unit, which has been investigating the South Korean company's use of "standards-essential" patents (SEPs) in lawsuits for almost a year. Companies have to use SEPs to make their devices work with standards such as 3G and the patent owner must agree to license them on terms that are "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory". Samsung and Apple have disagreed over the payment terms for the licences.

Captions: A mobile phone shop assistant in Manila Photograph: Erik de Castro/Reuters (c) 2012 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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