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EU Almunia: Determined To Use Antitrust To Prevent Patent Misuse


BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia Friday said he will use antitrust powers to prevent patents from being used to unfairly control market share, including in ongoing investigations.

Earlier this month the commission opened a formal investigation into whether South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930.SE) is using standards-essential patents, which are off-limits in court cases, to sue rivals including Apple Inc. (AAPL).

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

He didn't talk about any particular case.

"It is a major task of competition control to ensure that new generations of businesses are given a fair chance," Almunia said. "I am notably thinking of the surge in the strategic use of patents that confer market power to their holders."


-By Laurence Norman and Frances Robinson, Dow Jones Newswires; +32 (0)2 741 1481;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 10, 2012 04:29 ET (09:29 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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