Tuesday, May 18, 2021

EU Sides with Apple in Motorola Patent Fight

The European Commission has formally objected to Motorola Mobility’s attempt to seek an injunction against Apple products over patent-related issues. The EU says the Google subsidiary had abused its market dominance instead of negotiating licensing terms on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis.

James Kanter with The New York Times reported, “The European Commission on Monday made a preliminary antitrust finding against Google’s subsidiary Motorola Mobility, saying that it might have abused its dominance in wireless communications patents in seeking an injunction against Apple in Germany. The preliminary finding, which could lead to formal antitrust charges, comes as part of the commission’s battle to ensure that powerful companies with large patent portfolios do not block other companies from using technologies that are vital for smartphones and tablet computers.”

Reuters quoted the commission’s Joaquin Almunia, who said, “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.”

PCMag noted, “Motorola now has a chance to respond and request an oral hearing. After considering all the evidence, the commission could ban Motorola from the conduct of which it is accused or impose a fine of up to 10 percent of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Mock and Frances Robinson observed, “The case marks the second time since late last year that the EU has entered patent disputes involving large technology companies. In December, it issued a formal complaint against Samsung Electronics Co.’s attempts to use injunctions against Apple. As the global battle over patents rages, the EU has become a key market where tech giants are slugging it out. With Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Google, Nokia, Microsoft Corp. and others suing each other in jurisdictions from California to South Korea, Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s antitrust chief, has increasingly flexed his regulatory muscles.”

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