SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's antitrust watchdog said Thursday it has launched an investigation into whether Samsung Electronics Co. is abusing its dominant position in the wireless market to disadvantage Apple Inc.
The investigation could add a headache for Samsung in its global legal battle with Apple. Samsung is betting on its pool of third-generation wireless patents to win patent lawsuits against its U.S. rival. But its argument that Apple should be barred from selling products that illegally use patents that are considered essential technology for 3G networks have scored only one victory — in a Seoul court — while drawing scrutiny from regulators on at least two continents.
"We are reviewing whether allegations in the complaint lodged by Apple are true," said a Fair Trade Commission official, who declined to be named because they weren't authorized to speak to the press. "Apple filed a complaint earlier this year that Samsung is breaching fair trade laws," the official said.
Companies such as Samsung, which own so called standard-essential patents, are expected to license these patents under fair and non-discriminatory terms. It is a measure that allows companies to adopt a compatible technology and also to allow the entrance of new players to the market.