The patent practices of the mobile device maker under scrutinyPublish date: 04 April 2012 by Hanleigh Daniels
In February the European Commission (EU) opened a formal investigation into Samsung’s patent practices. Now, Google-owned Motorola Mobility has become the target of a couple of investigations by this same Commission.
The EC announced that it has opened two formal antitrust investigations against Motorola Mobility. The goal of these probes are to assess whether the US-based smartphone and tablet maker has “abusively, and in contravention of commitments it gave to standard setting organisations, used certain of its standard essential patents to distort competition” in the market in breach of EU antitrust rules.
Two investigations launched
Within its first investigation, the Commission will examine if Motorola’s behaviour amounts to an abuse of a dominant market position, which is prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).
For the second probe, the EU body will investigate allegations by both Apple and Microsoft that Motorola offered unfair licensing conditions for its standard-essential patents, which would constitute a breach of Article 102 TFEU.
Antitrust probes the result of complaints by Cupertino and Redmond
This course of action was taken after the EU body received complaints by Apple as well as Microsoft. The Commission will look to determine whether Motorola Mobility failed to honour its commitments, when it sought and enforced injunctions against some of Apple’s and Microsoft’s products.
This includes injunctions against Apple’s iPhone and iPad, as well as Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS) and Xbox 360 game console, on the basis of patents that Motorola previously declared as essential to produce standard-compliant products. Motorola had committed to license those standard-essential patents on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis.
In other patent related news, Apple, Sony, HTC, LG, Research In Motion (RIM) and Samsung recently were all slapped with a lawsuit by Graphics Properties Holdings (GPH), formerly known as Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI), for allegedly infringing a graphic processing patent on certain of the companies’ mobile devices.