EU Antitrust Ruling Says Google Abusing Patent Position in German Lawsuit Against Apple

The New York Times reports that Google and its Motorola Mobility unit have been found to be abusing their patent dominance in 3G wireless networking technology by the European Commission. The ruling, which comes in the form of a preliminary finding that could lead to formal antitrust charges but has yet to do so, addresses Motorola's efforts to bar European sales of Apple's 3G mobile devices over infringement of "standards essential" patents that Motorola is required to license under reasonable terms.

apple_google_logos
Apple did briefly pull a number of devices from its German online store in February 2012, but they quickly returned after an injunction was lifted and Apple later won long-term protection from sales bans while its appeal in the case is heard.

The European Commission's report today calls Motorola's efforts to enforce a sales ban based on these standards essential patents "an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by E.U. antitrust rules."

“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,” said Joaquín Almunia, the European Union’s competition commissioner, in a statement Monday, before a news briefing on the topic.

Apple has of course also targeted its competitors with lawsuits seeking sales bans over patent infringement, but Apple's efforts do not involve standards essential patents that are required to be licensed.

The technology covered by these standards essential patents has been judged to be integral for any device supporting a given functionality, with rights holders being required to license the patents under fair and reasonable terms in order to promote competition. In this case, Apple and Google/Motorola differ on what the reasonable licensing rates should be and thus do not have a licensing agreement in place.

Top Rated Comments

sadesh Avatar
143 months ago
Another slap in the face of Google. If they thought purchasing patents via Motorola was a good idea to bolster their patent portfolio then they are sorely mistaken. Motorola patents are worth jack ****.

Google is such a hypocritical company. On the one hand they talk to the press about openness and how they want peace with Apple. On the other hand they try to enforce FRAND patents against other companies.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbeagle Avatar
143 months ago
No one cares anymore.
YOU don't care anymore because Apple is winning? Interesting.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JarJarThomas Avatar
143 months ago
interesting and all the apple haters said apple is the bad guy in patent processes
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elvetio Avatar
143 months ago
...

No one cares anymore.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hydr Avatar
143 months ago
Instead of punishing people for working the system, why don't they fix the system?

The system is working perfectly fine as it is.

Android ripped IOS off. Apple was certain it had a good case, and took OEMs who were making money off Android devices to court. They have since scored several wins, and OEMs like HTC have entered licensing agreements with Apple.

The problem arose when Google/Samsung decided to fight Apple with dirty tricks like trying to inflict injunction on Apple products using FRAND patents.

This is nothing short of criminal behavior and it has now backfired tremendously for all of them.

The right thing for Google would have been to let the courts decide if Apple had a case or not. Instead they bought Motorola to try muscle Apple from obtaining rightfully licensing for their work.

What really amazes me is they & their lawyers really thought this would work in the first place.. Using FRAND patents to obtain injunctions is as anti-trust and abusive as you can possibly get.

What all the Android players should do now is pony up the licensing deals for past work, and come up with a "next generation" android that is fresh and original much like how Microsoft did.

Apple had a case, a very good case and they have scored several wins against OEMs. They have not been playing dirty, they have simply let the courts decide.

And as for the system? It appears to be working, bad people get caught.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
143 months ago
Another slap in the face of Google. If they thought purchasing patents via Motorola was a good idea to bolster their patent portfolio then they are sorely mistaken. Motorola patents are worth jack ****.

Google is such a hypocritical company. On the one hand they talk to the press about openness and how they want peace with Apple. On the other hand they try to enforce FRAND patents against other companies.

Actually - Motorola has THOUSDANDS of patents. A lot have never been used. But they own them. A lot of cool things too that have never been on a phone. A lot of crap ones too. They didn't just get a handful of patents they need/want to litigate on. They have an endless (almost) repository of potential. So yes - it was a great acquisition for them.

It's not so much a disagreement, if I recall correctly, but that Motorola was demanding a higher rate from Apple than they were everyone else. Which puts the blame squarely in their court.


If I recall correctly - they were arguing that they wanted a flat percentage and that Apple rejected that because their phones cost more than many other phones using the same patents. I could be wrong.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Colors

iPhone 16 Plus Rumored to Come in These 7 Colors

Wednesday April 10, 2024 3:52 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Plus may come in seven colors that either build upon the existing five colors in the standard iPhone 15 lineup or recast them in a new finish, based on a new rumor out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker Fixed focus digital, Apple's upcoming larger 6.7-inch iPhone 16 Plus model will come in the following colors, compared to the colors currently available for the...
apple silicon feature joeblue

Macs to Get AI-Focused M4 Chips Starting in Late 2024

Thursday April 11, 2024 10:10 am PDT by
Apple will begin updating its Mac lineup with M4 chips in late 2024, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The M4 chip will be focused on improving performance for artificial intelligence capabilities. Last year, Apple introduced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips all at once in October, so it's possible we could see the M4 lineup come during the same time frame. Gurman says that the entire...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...
apple tv 4k yellow bg feature

When to Expect a New Apple TV to Launch

Tuesday April 9, 2024 8:30 am PDT by
It has been nearly a year and a half since the current Apple TV was released, so the device is becoming due for a hardware upgrade. Below, we recap rumors about the next Apple TV, including potential features and launch timing. The current model is the third-generation Apple TV 4K, announced in October 2022. Key new features compared to the previous model from 2021 include a faster A15...