The European Commission has made it clear that it's none too happy with Samsung over the company's attempts to get Apple devices including the iPhone and iPad banned there. The Guardian reports that the commission is claiming Samsung tried to use so-called standard-essential patents to request the bans, a practice that could see the company fined up to 10 percent of its 2011 revenue, or about $15 billion.
Standard-essential patents are ones that a company agrees to license to any competitor, and if the two companies can't come to an agreement on a fair and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing fee, one will be determined by a court. In this case, the patents cover 3G technology. Apple has attempted to license them but hasn't been able to agree on a price with Samsung.
Perhaps in anticipation of the European Commission's move, Samsung withdrew its request to have the iPhone and iPad banned in Europe earlier this month. In a statement, it cited a willingness to "protect consumer choice" and "compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court" as its motivation. The company is still seeking similar bans in other countries including the US, however. It must now respond to the commission, which will then decide if a fine will be levied.