European Commission to investigate Motorola over patents

3 Apr 2012

The European Commission will undertake two antitrust investigations against Motorola Mobility over complaints by Apple and Microsoft which claim the company is enforcing injunctions against their products using essential patents.

The commission said it will look into whether Motorola has contravened commitments it gave to standard-setting organisations and distorted competition in the EU. It will examine whether Motorola abused its dominant market position, which is prohibited by the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

The investigation is a result of complaints from both Apple and Microsoft which allege Motorola is using patents based on essential standards to seek injunctions against the iPhone, iPad, Windows and Xbox.

In November 2011, Microsoft sued Motorola, claiming it charged excessive royalties for its patents. Motorola then countersued, claiming Microsoft infringed 16 of its patents.

However, Microsoft says these patents are based on common technical standards used to build compatible products for video playback and internet connectivity. It said Motorola and other companies agreed to make standard essential patents available on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Apple also sued Motorola recently, claiming it had violated FRAND terms by refusing to license its patents ‘on reasonable terms.’ Motorola Mobility claims it tried to agree to fair licensing terms with Apple, but Apple refused.