EU's Vestager says undecided yet on opening ZTE, Vringo probe

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 11, 2015 7:25 AM

By Foo Yun Chee

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - EU regulators have yet to decide whether to wade into a patent dispute between ZTE and New York-based patent licensing firm Vringo, despite a year-old complaint by the Chinese handset maker, the bloc's antitrust chief said.

ZTE took its grievance to the European Commision in June last year after failing to reach a deal with Vringo on charges for using the U.S. company's patents, which are necessary for its products to work with industry standards.

The company, one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment makers, said the dispute dated to 2012, when Vringo bought a series of wireless patents from Nokia Corp.

ZTE is also battling Vringo in courts in the United States, Brazil, Britain, Romania and other countries.

Asked whether the Commission has decided to open a case, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters on the sidelines of an International Bar Association conference on Friday: "Not decided."

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The spat between ZTE and Vringo is one of many in the sector. Apple, Samsung and Google have been locked in patent disputes with various rivals at various times.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and David Holmes)