More bad news for Samsung today, as the European Commission told Reuters that it may soon be hitting the Galaxy S III maker with antitrust charges. These possible anti-competitive charges come after a larger and longer investigation of Samsung carried out by the European Commission. Essentially, the European Commission wants to know if Samsung broke the EU’s competition rules by filing patent suits against Apple.

A lot of this centers around Samsung’s standard-essential patents, which the company is required to offer fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates for. Earlier this week, Samsung backed down on injunction requests on a number of Apple devices, but apparently the European Commission is taking issue with the fact that Samsung is still suing for damages. “We will issue a statement of objections very soon,” Joaquin Almunia, competition chief for the European Union, told Reuters.

The European Commission will let Samsung know about any incoming charges in writing, after which time the company will be able to request a hearing in front of regulators. If the Commission decides that Samsung is in the wrong, it could impose a pretty large fine – up to 10% of Samsung’s annual turnover, to be exact. Make no mistake, that’s a lot of money, so Samsung will want to fight any antitrust charges its hit with.

Apple and Samsung have been duking it out in courtrooms around the world, which each claiming patent infringement left and right. There have been mixed results for both companies, but perhaps the biggest case here in the US ended with Samsung being told to pay Apple $1.05 billion. That certainly isn’t good, and things are bound to get at least a bit worse if the European Commission opts to hit the company with antitrust charges. Stay tuned.


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