In a preliminary ruling, the European Commission has determined that Google’s Motorola Mobility abused its dominance in mobile patents when it sought out an injunction against Apple’s iPhone in Germany. According to The New York Times, the ruling could set the stage for antitrust charges to be filed against Google. Motorola had initially sought a legal injunction against Apple’s iPhone over a standard-essential patent related to GSM technology.
Motorola had initially committed the patent to be subject to Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory licensing, or FRAND. This means the company must offer a licensing agreement to competitors asking for it. Because of that, Apple argued that Motorola’s injunction efforts were illegally leveraging patents the company was obligated to license. The issue became so large that even Apple’s rival, Microsoft, joined the fray against Motorola.
In a preliminary ruling, the European Commission has determined that Google's Motorola Mobility abused its dominance in mobile patents when it sought an injunction against Apple's iPhone in Germany.
The European Union’s executive body declared Motorola’s injunction was “an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by E.U. antitrust rules.” According to Joaquin Almunia, the E.U. competition commissioner, said the following:
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.