Motorola May End Up Having To License FRAND Patents To Apple And Microsoft

EU Decides Motorola Abused Power in Regards to Patent Related Injunction Requests Against Apple

May 6, 2013 - Written By Briley Kenney

According to the European Commission, Motorola abused its position when it filed patent-related injunction requests against Apple.

In a “preliminary view” the European Comission says that Motorola Mobility did not make an attempt to negotiate royalty payments on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis. Because of that fact, they’ve issued an objection statement directly to Motorola. Moto now has the chance to respond, ultimately in an attempt to request that an oral hearing be held. If the commission receives all the evidence and decides Motorola did indeed abuse its power, the company will be banned from similar dealings and may even incur a fine of up to 10% of their annual revenue.

FRAND exists solely to keep corporations from abusing patents, specifically when they pertain to a technology that’s necessary for a particular industry or market. For the most part, any company that has an essential patent must do everything in their power to license the technology out to others, instead of attacking them. That means companies are forced to cooperate with major competitors too.

About a year ago, the European Commission opened the investigation, which was ignited by Apple and Microsoft who both accused Motorola of abusing their power. They claimed that Motorola made no effort to sign a licensing deal.

Katie Dove, a Motorola Mobility spokeswoman had this to say on the matter:

“We agree with the European Commission that injunctions should only be sought against unwilling licensees and, in this case, Motorola Mobility followed the procedure established in the German Supreme Court’s Orange Book ruling. Apple had to make six offers before the court recognized them as a willing licensee.”

The commission vice president, Juaquin Almunia apparently thinks otherwise:

“The protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of innovation and growth. But so is competition. I think that companies should spend their time innovating and competing on the merits of the products they offer – not misusing their intellectual property rights to hold up competitors to the detriment of innovation and consumer choice.”

In addition, the EU commission claims that Motorola “failed to honor its irrevocable commitments made to standard setting organizations.” This is because Motorola originally fought to have rival devices removed from the market due to patent disputes, namely the iPad, iPhone, Windows and Xbox 360.

To summarize, this is more of the same stuff we’ve been hearing for a while now. Patent trolls, and unnecessary litigation aside it looks like we may very well be on the right track. Motorola originally demanded some $4 billion in royalty payments from Microsoft alone, in regards to the Xbox console. It was much the same scenario between Motorola and Apple. The commission was set to decide whether or not Motorola was demanding unfair licensing fees of Apple, to which they came to the conclusion above. It appears that Motorola certainly has some changes to make.

Via: PC Mag