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The European Commission said that this EU complaint concerns Motorola Mobility’s issues with Apple in Germany

Motorola Mobility was slapped with a European Union antitrust complaint for seeking injunctions to block Apple's use of certain patents.

Motorola Mobility, which was purchased by Google in 2011 for $12.4 billion, received a complaint from the EU stating that the company may be abusing its dominant position by seeking injunctions against Apple in Germany. This would block Apple from using patents that are essential for products to comply with industry-agreed technical standards.

Industry-standard technology makes sure that products -- like mobile phone antennas and GPS -- can operate together, even when they're made by different manufacturers.

The EU opened an antitrust investigation into Motorola Mobility in April 2012 after Apple and Microsoft complained that Motorola Mobility was seeking injunctions to block their use of patents -- which Google said was essential for creating standard-compliant products.

The European Commission said that this EU complaint concerns Motorola Mobility’s issues with Apple in Germany, but the part of the investigation concerning Microsoft products is "continuing."

"The protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of innovation and growth," said Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia. "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."

Just last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola -- a federal judge in Miami, Florida -- said that Apple and Motorola Mobility are wasting the court's time with patent infringement lawsuits that they have no intention of solving.

“The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end,” said Judge Scola. “That is not a proper use of this court.”

Source: Europa



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RE: So
By Nephiorim on 5/6/2013 12:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
Motorola steered towards a ban on Apple products based on FRAND patents. Without the technology covered by these patents (in this case pertaining to 2G operation) a phone basically cannot function, at least not without insane reduction in functionality. Motorola had a right to sue Apple, however they did not have a right to ask for a ban. That's pretty much our EU council's stance. There's always a bit of nuance that goes missing in blogposts :)


RE: So
By Gio6518 on 5/6/2013 2:19:54 PM , Rating: 2
Even if it's the standard... They deserve reimbursement for the millions spent in R & D and crApple contributes nothing


RE: So
By drycrust3 on 5/6/2013 2:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Without the technology covered by these patents (in this case pertaining to 2G operation) a phone basically cannot function, at least not without insane reduction in functionality.

When you look at someone like Microsoft, who can make up to $15 per handset, and they aren't the only ones demanding licence fees, it seems to me that a whole of what we consider "essential" to a smartphone is covered by non-FRAND patents. As such, as you say, they won't function "without insane reduction in functionality".
As Jason has said in previous articles, a non-FRAND patent is worth at least ten times a FRAND patent, and carries more clout, whereas it should be the other way around: The FRAND patents should be worth more and carry more clout.
The sad thing about all of this is that the end user pays both ways: the smartphones cost more and the choice is less.


RE: So
By Nephiorim on 5/6/2013 3:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
You're correct, but FRAND technology patents can be used to close down any sort of competition between companies. That's why regulation is so harsh when these are concerned.


RE: So
By Solandri on 5/6/2013 4:13:52 PM , Rating: 3
For better or for worse, that's where this is heading. Courts clamping down on the types of suits you can file with a FRAND patent due to fear of abuse -> FRAND patents being worth less -> nobody wanting to submit their patent under FRAND -> balkanization of the electronics industry and the disappearance of compatibility. It's important to realize that preventing abuse isn't the only goal here. We're trying to walk the tightrope between preventing abuse, while simultaneously allowing FRAND to be lucrative enough for companies to want to submit their patents under FRAND.

FRAND patents have typically had a lower royalty rate than regular patents (OP is slightly wrong here); it's just offset by increased units sold due to the patent being a standard. The danger is that if the courts continue ruling as they are, the total of

(FRAND royalty per device) * (FRAND units sold)

may become less than the total of

(regular patent royalty per device) * (units sold).

When that happens, the "prevent abuse" line crosses the "lucrative" line, and the tightrope ceases to exist. FRAND will still be around - small two-bit companies will submit their mediocre patents to it to try to increase their name recognition. But nobody who's competitive will use it. They will be using their own proprietary and incompatible schemes (e.g. Logitech's wireless mice not using bluetooth) because they're so much better than the FRAND-based "standard".


RE: So
By Gio6518 on 5/6/2013 6:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
Black rectangle should be FRAND


RE: So
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/7/2013 1:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot the sarcasm tag...


“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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