Samsung could be fined $15 billion over efforts to ban Apple sales in Europe

European commission could impose hefty fines over Samsung's efforts to use standard-essential patents in battle with Apple

Samsung, the south Korean electronics giant, could face fines running to billions of pounds from the European commission over its attempts to use its "standard-essential" patents on 3G to ban sales of Apple's iPhone and iPad in Europe.

The Google-owned smartphone company Motorola Mobility may face similar penalties over its attempts to ban sales of Microsoft's Xbox 360 through its use of SEPs relating to Wi-Fi and the H.264 video standard.

Both companies could yet receive fines in the US as well, where the federal trade commission weighed in earlier in December in a court case between Motorola and Apple, arguing that Motorola's use of SEPs amounted to a "hold-up". Samsung is also being investigated by the US justice department over its use of SEPs in cases against Apple.

The European commission's competition arm, run by Joaquin Almunia,issued a formal statement of objections last Friday.

The potential fines can run to 10% of a company's worldwide turnover, which in tSamsung's case would amount to nearly $15bn (£9.3bn), based on its 2011 revenues of $148.9bn. The commission opened its investigation into Samsung in January.......