EU probes Samsung over mobile phone patents

BRUSSELS (AP) ? The European Union’s antitrust watchdog says it is probing whether Samsung Electronics has illegally prevented competitors from using key patents on mobile phones.

The European Commission said Tuesday it suspects Samsung of not giving other companies fair access to patents it holds on standardized technology for mobile phones ? despite committing to do so in 1998.

The Commission said that Samsung last year sought legal injunctions against other device makers in several EU states, alleging patent infringement.

The probe comes just as Samsung is locked in a battle with Apple over whether its Galaxy tablet too closely resembles the iPad.

A spokesman for the Commission couldn’t immediately say whether the patents also affect tablet computers.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

BERLIN (AP) ? A German appeals court has upheld a decision prohibiting Samsung Electronics Co. from selling two of its tablet computers in Germany, agreeing with Apple Inc. that they too closely resemble the iPad2.

The Duesseldorf state court ruled Tuesday that neither the South Korean company’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 nor the Galaxy Tab 8.9 could be sold in Germany because they were in violation of unfair competition laws.

But it said the successor Galaxy Tab 10.1 N is not affected by the ruling.

The ruling comes as part of a string of court battles between California-based Apple and Samsung over their tablet computers. In December, a Sydney court ruled that Samsung could sell its Galaxy tablet computers in Australia.