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
114 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
114 months ago
No one cares anymore.
YOU don't care anymore because Apple is winning? Interesting.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JarJarThomas Avatar
114 months ago
interesting and all the apple haters said apple is the bad guy in patent processes
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elvetio Avatar
114 months ago
...

No one cares anymore.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hydr Avatar
114 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
114 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

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

Rumored iPhone 14 Pro Feature Delayed Until Next Year

Wednesday January 19, 2022 3:00 am PST by
Apple's long-rumored under-display Face ID technology will not be coming to the iPhone 14 Pro, according to recent reports. Based on the latest rumors, it now looks unlikely that the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature Face ID technology under the display as several reports claimed over the past year. Display industry consultant Ross Young, who often reveals ...