EU to investigate Motorola for unfairly leveraging patents against Apple, Microsoft

EU, European Union
Image Credit: Yurchyks via Shutterstock
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EU, European Union

The European Union’s antitrust Commission has opened up two new investigations that will explore whether Motorola Mobility is unfairly licensing some of its patents, the organization announced today.

The investigations follow complaints from two of the biggest technology companies in the world. Back in February, Apple filed an official complaint against Motorola Mobility for violating agreements to fairly license standards-essential patents. Specifically, Apple focused on the 17,000 patents Google will get its hands on when its purchase of Motorola Mobility is complete. Weeks later, Microsoft  filed an official complaint with the EU against Motorola, focusing on its patents related to web videos.

All the Motorola Mobility patents in question are to be licensed on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The FRAND classification means the owner of a patent must license it to other companies for a fee because the technology is considered essential to an industry. Both Apple and Microsoft claim Motorola isn’t abiding by these terms.

The antitrust commission explained:

“Following complaints by Apple and Microsoft, the Commission will investigate, in particular, whether by seeking and enforcing injunctions against Apple’s and Microsoft’s flagship products such as iPhone, iPad, Windows and Xbox on the basis of patents it had declared essential to produce standard-compliant products, Motorola has failed to honour its irrevocable commitments made to standard setting organisations.”

It looks sort of like both Microsoft and Apple are taking advantage of Motorola Mobility changing hands to one of their biggest rivals. U.S. and E.U. regulators approved Google’s purchase of the company for $12.5 billion in February.

Euro sign photo via Yurchyks/Shutterstock

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