EU Calls Motorola Injunction Against Apple Abusive

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The European Union isn't pleased with Motorola's stance on standard essential patents and has gone so far as to call the company's injunction against Apple an abusive act, and that Apple should be allowed to license the patents in question under reasonable terms. In a statement from the European Commission, which is investigating Motorola's actions, officials called the actions "an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules."

EU says Motorola is abusing its standard essential patentsEU says Motorola is abusing its standard essential patents

The European Commission stated,

The Motorola Mobility SEPs in question relate to the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute's (ETSI) GPRS standard, part of the GSM standard, which is a key industry standard for mobile and wireless communications. When this standard was adopted in Europe, Motorola Mobility gave a commitment that it would license the patents which it had declared essential to the standard on FRAND terms. Nevertheless, Motorola Mobility sought an injunction against Apple in Germany on the basis of a GPRS SEP and, after the injunction was granted, went on to enforce it, even when Apple had declared that it would be willing to be bound by a determination of the FRAND royalties by the German court.

The agency's preliminary ruling comes as part of an investigation into potential patent abuse on Motorola's part after the company won an infringement case against Apple in 2012 related to standard essential cell service patents. Apple was apparently willing to pay to license the patents so it wouldn't have to deal with ongoing litigation over how they are used in the iPhone and iPad, but Motorola refused despite their SEP status.

The European Commission added,

Today's Statement of Objections sets out the Commission's preliminary view that under the specific circumstances of this case - a previous commitment to license SEPs on FRAND terms and the agreement of Apple to accept a binding determination of the terms of a FRAND licence for SEPs by a third party - recourse to injunctions harms competition. The Commission is concerned that the threat of injunctions can distort licensing negotiations and lead to licensing terms that the licensee of the SEP would not have accepted absent this threat. This would lead to less consumer choice.

Motorola is currently dealing with two EU investigations into potential patent abuse over its refusal to license SEP technology to Apple and Microsoft despite both companies statements that they are willing to strike agreements.

The fact that Apple and Microsoft have both expressed a clear interest in strikingi licensing deals with Motorola doesn't bode well for the company, especially since the patents in question are standard essential. Depending on what the agency decides in its final ruling, Motorola could face fines that add up to "10 percent of [the] company's annual worldwide turnover."

Motorola hasn't commented on the preliminary ruling.

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Comments

mhikl

I would like to see Apple fight back. Bring in a good mail, Call it Apple+. Or, Apple could piggy-back off Yahoo mail, but it would have to have characteristics that make it link in with the Cloud and Apple’s “Mail”. As well, Apple needs to get its own search going and possibly may, at first, piggy-back off elements of Google much as “Start Page” uses Google anonymously so your searching is not tracked by the evil one. Google has taken the gloves off, Apple needs to apply the spiked glove and take the great pretender to task.

I have moved to Yahoo, use Start Page, Duck duck go, and occasionally bing when I am in the humour. I am dumping all Google links and when I am done, all that will be left are old friends who may remember my old Gmail address. Those will get through to an old Hotmail account linked to Gmail as my backup account. Google is crabs fest and the itch and crawlies it brings to the campfire is pure blight, and I say that in the nicest way.

Not everyone using an Apple system would leave Google,  but enough would that Google would get the message. And, over time, with Apple doing said deed out of pure heart for the safety and non tracking of its users’ private matters, mail and search would get better and more would leave the troglodyte behind. Apple doesn’t need the chunk change it gets from Google as its default search engine.

Kicking Google in the goolies seems a very sweet move and many would applaud voraciously.

Mike

mhikl I agree 100%!

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