(CN) – A German appeals court continued a ban against sales of the Samsung Galaxy tablet on Tuesday, the same day that the European Commission opened a formal investigation into antitrust charges facing the South Korean technology giant.
The commission will investigate whether the South Korean company broke antitrust laws and “distor[ed] competition” by failing to license standard essential patents on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. Owners of “essential” patents are required to license them to rivals on FRAND terms to “ensure effective access to the standardized technology,” the commission said.
Samsung agreed in 1998 to abide by FRAND standards at the urging of the European Telecommunications Standards Institutes. In 2011, however, Samsung sought injunctive relief against several competitors in various EU courts. Europe’s executive body says Samsung’s infringement claims revolved around patent rights that it had previously classified as essential.
Samsung is currently locked in more than 20 worldwide legal battles with Apple over patent and design issues related to its tablets and smartphones.
Germany has proven a contentious ground in these patent battles. On Tuesday, a Dusseldorf court affirmed an order for Apple that barred sales of Galaxy 10.1 tablets in the country.
Though an Australian court temporarily banned Samsung tablet sales, the country’s high court has more recently tossed Apple’s challenge.
The Netherlands also sided with Samsung in refusing Apple’s call for a ban last week.