07 May 2013

Motorola 'abused' patent position

Google-owned Motorola Mobility has been informed by the European Commission that its use of standard-essential patents (SEPs) likely constitutes a violation of EU antitrust rules.

By James Barnes

Motorola takes hit in smart-phone war

The Register reports that the EC decision follows two year-long investigations into the SEPs that were launched following complaints from tech rivals Apple and Microsoft, which  claimed that Motorola walked away from commitments to license the SEPs under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

'Dominant position'

According to the report, the EC said it believes Motorola’s attempts to gain and enforce an injunction against Apple based on its mobile phone–related SEPs ‘amounts to an abuse of a dominant position’.
EC competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said that although protection of intellectual property is a ‘cornerstone of innovation and growth’, competition is equally important. ‘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,’ he said.

Final decision

Motorola is now set to respond to the EC decision before it is made final. If the tech company is unable to dispel the claims, under EC law it could be hit with a fine equal to up to 10 per cent of its worldwide annual revenue.

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