The European Union recently said that Motorola Mobility, now a part of Google, was abusive toward Apple as an owner of GPRS patents in an effort to win an injunction against Apple products in Germany. The ruling in favor of the injunction eventually forced Apple to stop selling its products from its website in the country during the lawsuit, BBC said. That no doubt had an impact of iPad and iPhone sales.
Here’s where the European Union thinks Motorola Mobility went wrong: it owned a patent that it argued Apple infringed upon. As a result, and because the patent is considered standard-essential, Motorola Mobility should have tried harder to reach licensing terms with Apple and was supposed to to reach a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory agreement. It turns out that Apple actually wanted to license the patented technology from Motorola Mobility, but the two companies couldn’t agree on pricing terms at the time. Here’s a snippet from the official letter:
The Motorola Mobility SEPs in question relate to the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute’s (ETSI) GPRS standard, part of the GSM standard, which is a key industry standard for mobile and wireless communications. When this standard was adopted in Europe, Motorola Mobility gave a commitment that it would license the patents which it had declared essential to the standard on FRAND terms. Nevertheless, Motorola Mobility sought an injunction against Apple in Germany on the basis of a GPRS SEP and, after the injunction was granted, went on to enforce it, even when Apple had declared that it would be willing to be bound by a determination of the FRAND royalties by the German court.
“While recourse to injunctions is a possible remedy for patent infringements, such conduct may be abusive where standard-essential patents are concerned and the potential licensee is willing to enter into a licence on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms,” the European Union said in a statement obtained by BBC. EU’s competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he wants companies to work on innovation and not fighting over intellectual property, which ultimately hurts consumers.
Motorola said that it “followed the procedure established” and that the court didn’t even view Apple as a company willing to license Motorola Mobility’s technology until it made its sixth offer.