The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently offered its take on the proper use of so-called standard-essential patents (SEP) in an amicus curiae brief. The FTC states that the previous district court decision to deny a Motorola injunction of certain Apple products was correct.
The brief made a special note that a court-ordered injunction is “ordinarily inappropriate” when a patent holder has already licensed the leveraged properties under fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. To be more specific, the FTC’s recent brief pertains to the claims Motorola asserts again Apple’s iPhone and iPad, which both allegedly infringe on certain wireless patents. An FTC statement regarding the brief stated the following:
It concludes that a district court correctly applied the governing legal principles when it dismissed Motorola’s request for an injunction that could have blocked Apple from selling iPhones and iPads in the United States.
The FTC said the following regarding the matter:
This is generally the proper approach, because allowing a patent holder to seek an injunction on a SEP can facilitate patent-holdup, which can raise prices to consumers, while undermining the standard-setting process.
Of the five Commission members, four ended up agreeing with the amicus brief, with Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen being the only one to hold out. Motorola has been the target of other FT actions recently as well; including a staff recommendation to the organization’s five member Commission to sue the company over alleged SEP-related antitrust practices. It was also previously announced that the FTC was formally investigating whether Google was illegally using standard-essential patents acquired from its $12.5 billion takeover of Motorola against smartphone competitors. We’ll have to wait and see what’s to come.
Source: FTC via The Verge