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Samsung removes standard-essential patent claims from US Apple suit

Samsung is no longer asserting any claim of any declared standard-essential patent in this case

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Samsung Electronics removed three standard-essential patents claims from its dispute with Apple in a California federal court.

The parties agreed to remove the claims from one of the two suits currently lodged with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, according to a document filed with the court on Friday. While Apple sued Samsung in this case, Samsung filed counterclaims in the suit.

By dismissing the claims, Samsung is no longer asserting any claim of any declared standard-essential patent in this case, the document said.

Standard essential patents (SEPs) are considered essential to the implementation of industry standards by its owner. Companies that declare their patents as standard-essential are usually required to license them on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Would-be licensees, however, often disagree over what constitutes a reasonable licensing fee. 

Apple agreed to dismiss its defenses to the claims, including its FRAND counterclaims, according to the document. The parties however reserved the rights to reassert the claims.

By agreeing to remove the claims, "the parties wish to further narrow and streamline the trial in this matter to avoid overburdening the jury and the court," according to the document.

Samsung and Apple both declined to comment on the decision.

In December 2012, Samsung dropped all claims pending in European courts based on SEPs that it tried to use to ban the sales of Apple products in Europe. It did so a few days before the European Commission announced that its use of standard-essential patents may be an abuse of its dominant position and a violation of EU antitrust rules.

After that, Apple said in documents filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that Samsung should also withdraw its demands for bans on imports of Apple products in the U.S. as it did in Europe.

Samsung however disagreed and the ITC determined in one case in June last year that older models of the iPhone and iPad should be banned from import to the U.S. because they infringed on a Samsung SEP. That decision however was vetoed by President Barack Obama's administration in August because it deemed bans based on SEPs harmful for competition.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com



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