The European Union has officially approved Sony's buyout of Ericsson for ownership of the Sony Ericsson joint venture. The deal, which was announced in late October, will give Sony control of the company's phone development, and — perhaps more importantly — full rights to the company's patent portfolio. Despite the wait for approval, Sony has already started rebranding products, with the Xperia S and Xperia Ion bearing only the Sony name. Given that Sony Ericsson posted a €247 million loss last quarter, however, there have certainly been better times to take control. We'll see if Sony can pull the company back into the black over the course of this year.