The European Commission [official website] on Monday instructed Samsung Electronics [corporate website] to offer more concessions in their proposal to settle antitrust charges. Samsung has been charged [Reuters report] with breaching the EU's antitrust rules by engaging in patent lawsuits against the company's chief rival, Apple [corporate website]. Sumsung has since engaged in negotiations [Reuters report] for a settlement with the Commission. Upon rejection of Samsung's initial settlement proposal, the European Commission warns that if the company does not offer improved concessions, it may be subjected to a fine of up to USD $18.3 billion.
The European Commission first opened an investigation [JURIST report] into whether Apple and Samsung breached EU antitrust laws in November 2011. The Commission enforces Articles 101-109 [materials] of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) [text, PDF; materials]. Article 102 of the TFEU prohibits "directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions" and "limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers." The EU patent system has a compulsory licensing regime under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) [materials]. TRIPs gives entities the freedom to negotiate licenses, but if they are unable to reach an agreement within a reasonable length of time then the government may impose a compulsory license under Article 31 [text].