As regulators and industry analysts around the world attempt to pinpoint potential implications of the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung, European antitrust regulators remain concerned that the legal victors may use their intellectual property rights to limit innovation and stifle competition.
According to Reuters, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia recently expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of cooperation from Apple and Samsung during regulatory investigation. Almunia has yet to receive several documents he believes may help inform his judgment on potential misuse of intellectual assets.
"Standardization and IP rights are two instruments that - in this new IT sector - can be used as a tool to abuse," the chief antitrust regulator told reporters. "Apple and Samsung is only one case where IP rights can be used as an instrument to restrict competition."
This prolonged legal debate began in April, but has since spread to more than 20 cases across 10 countries. According to ZDNet, one central controversy surrounds the use of injunctions to essentially prohibit sales of a competing product in certain jurisdictions. For example, Apple has already been able to secure such a move in Germany and Australia, preventing Samsung from offering its tablets in these markets.