Motorola patent investigation in Europe

Marketplace Staff Apr 3, 2012

It’s not often that you hear about Apple and Microsoft teaming up for a common cause but then again the patent war is a pretty unique set of circumstances. The two tech titans have complained to the European Union about the practices of Motorola Mobility and a formal investigation has now been launched. They’re upset about the ways in which Motorola licenses its patents.

The New York Times says:

Both Microsoft and Apple complained to the commission that they were victims of unfair licensing conditions and abusive litigation by Motorola Mobility.
The investigation will look at whether “Motorola has failed to honor its irrevocable commitments made to standard-setting organizations” to license its technologies to other companies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, the commission said.

The ripple effect of these complaints may mean a lot more headaches for Google, which is seeking final approval to buy Motorola Mobility.
Again from the Times:

A prominent commentator on the issue, Florian Mueller, who also advises companies including Microsoft on patent issues, said in a blog posting that the decision Tuesday by Mr. Almunia to start a formal investigation into Motorola Mobility was a bad sign for Google.
“If and when Google closes the deal, it will effectively buy itself into two more E.U. antitrust investigations,” Mr. Mueller wrote. “It’s time for some people in Mountain View to realize that a multi-front war against competition authorities, on three continents in parallel, is a war that they won’t be able to win,” he wrote, referring to Google’s headquarters in California.

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