Google's Motorola Mobility Purchase Approval Expected Next Week
February 9, 2012 3:02 PM
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Google swears it will be fair with FRAND patents
Back in August 2011
, Google announced that it intended the purchase Motorola Mobility. Not only will the purchase get Google the ability to design and build its own smartphones, the deal means Google
acquires all of the patents that Motorola Mobility holds
. Since the deal was first announced, it has been going through all the hoops needed by regulators in the United States.
Wall Street Journal
reports that the deal is now close to being completed and approval from the U.S. Justice Department is expected to come as early as next week. Once the deal is complete, Google will layout $12.5 billion in exchange for Motorola Mobility.
However, some antitrust enforcers in America and Europe still worry about the deal. The fear stems from the fact that Motorola Mobility owns patents for things that are considered industry standards. The regulators fear that Google may attempt to license the patents for unfair prices to competitors.
When patents that a company holds are turned into industry standards, the companies that own the patents have to agree to license them under fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms also known as FRAND. FRAND patents are
hot topics right now
because some manufacturers that hold this type of patent have attempted to use them to get injunctions against competitors and courts.
Motorola most recently has used FRAND patents to win an injunction against Apple that forced the
suspension of sales of some of Apple products in Germany
. Google has been sending letters to standards organizations around the world that promise to offer licenses for the FRAND patents in the Motorola Mobility portfolio.
The letter read in part, "Google will not apply for injunctive relief against a willing licensee." The letter continued, "[we] reserve its right to seek any and all appropriate judicial remedies against counterparties [that refuse to license the patents]."
Wall Street Journal
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Can't argue with it
2/10/2012 12:17:05 AM
I respect googles stance that it will honor its current contracts while protecting its licensing rights.
RE: Can't argue with it
2/15/2012 9:49:36 AM
That isn't the relevant part.
The relevant part is that they have not ruled out seeking an injunction based on license disputes.
You can easily explicitly define that you will not seek injunctions based on FRAND patents, whilst still protecting your existing contracts and protecting your licensing rights. Microsoft and Apple have done exactly that.
What Google is doing is trying to leave the door open to use FRAND patent disputes as a vehicle to get products banned. The very nature of FRAND, typically that it is an essential requirement in all devices, makes this a VERY dangerous and anti-competitive approach - and I suspect Google and Motorola will be taken to task on this exactly like Samsung were.
Remember - nobody is saying that Motorola shouldn't sue for 'Fair & reasonable' costs and licenses - what IS being said is that they shouldn't:
a) Impose ridiculously high demands (2.5% of retail)
b) Seek a BAN on products while the fair price is being discussed in court.
Instead, they should simply seek damages to the amount that the court adjudges they are entitled to.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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