(Removes Colombani comments on Motorola sanctions)
* Legal disputes centre on tablets and smartphone patents
* Big firms waging "patent wars" amid battle for market
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, Feb 10 EU regulators will rule on
antitrust cases against Samsung Electronics and
Motorola Mobility in April, the European Commission
said on Monday as it seeks to end the so-called patent wars
between smartphone makers.
The Commission - the EU's antitrust authority - has been
investigating the firms and others for using aggressive legal
action to prevent rivals from selling smartphones and tablet
computers in Europe by claiming they copied their designs.
The patent wars between tech companies, also including Apple
, Microsoft, Nokia and smaller
rivals, underscore the fierce battle for market share in the
lucrative mobile phone industry.
The world's top smartphone makers, Samsung and Apple, are
suing each other in more than 10 countries.
Samsung, the target of a two-year EU investigation, has
already indicated it is willing to compromise. Last October, the
South Korean company said it would not take rivals to court over
patent disputes over the next five years in a bid to avoid a
multi-billion-euro fine from Brussels.
The company subsequently sweetened its offer after EU
antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia demanded more. "The latest
commitment proposals by Samsung are good and the Commission
should be able to adopt a final decision in April," said
Almunia's spokesman Antoine Colombani.
The case of Google Inc's Motorola, under investigation in a
separate case since 2012 following complaints from Apple and
Microsoft over its efforts to ban the sale of their products,
will also be decided in April, said Colombani.
"This ongoing case is being handled under Article 7 of the
Antitrust Regulation," he said.
In such cases, the Commission typically orders companies to
halt their anti-competitive practices and may hand out a fine up
to 10 percent of a firm's global annual turnover. This could
mean as much as $440 million for Motorola.
Samsung and Google did not immediately respond to requests
(Editing by John O'Donnell and Pravin Char)