Feeds

EU competition chief threatens patent war smackdown

Tough-talking Almunia will take mobile giants to task

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.