EU to set out anti-trust case against Samsung soon

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The EU will set out its case against Samsung Electronics "very soon" following an anti-trust probe of the smartphone and mobile tablet market, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Thursday.

"We will adopt a statement of objections very soon," Almunia said, meaning a document detailing the EU competition watchdog's possible objections.

"I don't know if it is at the end of this year or the beginning of next year," he said, adding that "we are on the last last steps of our internal procedures."

The Commission opened a probe in January on whether the South Korean tech giant was abusing its market position by seeking bans on sales of products made by its competitors in several European countries, alleging they were illegally using its patents.

Samsung said this week it would drop a legal request to ban Apple products in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands but would maintain lawsuits for alleged patent infringement.

Commenting on Samsung's decision to withdraw the requests, Almunia said: "We are very happy with this because one of the most important objections that we have when dealing with holders of standard essential patents is their possible abuses using their ownership (of patents)."

Samsung overtook Nokia as the top mobile phone brand for 2012 and has opened up a decisive lead over Apple in the smartphone market, market research firm IHS iSuppli said earlier this week.

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