Feeds

EU competition chief threatens patent war smackdown

Tough-talking Almunia will take mobile giants to task

Remote control for virtualized desktops

European anti-competition chief Joaquin Almunia has warned that the EU won't stand for any messing about with technology standards-related patents.

Almunia, giving a speech today at the Concurrences conference in Paris, said that he was prepared to use the EU's enforcement measures, such as fines of up to 10 per cent of a biz's global turnover, to make his point.

"Standardisation processes must be fair and transparent, so that they are not in the hands of established firms willing to impose their technologies. But it is not enough. We must also ensure that, once they hold standard essential patents, companies give effective access on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms," Almunia said.

"I am determined to use antitrust enforcement to prevent the misuse of patent rights to the detriment of a vigorous and accessible market. I have initiated investigations on this issue in several sectors and we will see the results in due time."

The EU has already announced a formal investigation of Samsung for misuse of essential patents in its European battles with Apple over smartphones and fondleslabs.

In the last few months, Google, Apple and Microsoft have all given promises to behave when it comes to standards patents, though they all seem to have left themselves a little wiggle-room.

Essential patents relate to industry standards, such as 3G for mobiles. They're supposed to be open to everyone to license relatively easily and cheaply so that new businesses can have a chance to enter the market.

"It is a major task of competition control to ensure that new generations of businesses are given a fair chance," Almunia said in his speech. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.