Motorola accused by Microsoft and Apple of abusing FRAND patents in Europe
Microsoft has filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility with the European Commission, claiming that the mobile manufacturer is using FRAND patents to block product sales.
The move follows a similar antitrust complaint made by Apple last week and will put pressure on Google to resolve the issue as they prepare to take over at Motorola.
FRAND patent problems
“Earlier today, Microsoft filed a formal competition law complaint with the European Commission (EC) against Motorola Mobility,” Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft’s corporate standards and antitrust group, wrote in a blog post. “We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.”
Microsoft’s claim relates to the use of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms patents. Heiner’s post reveals demands over the usage of the H.264 video standard in a laptop as a key example of Motorola’s abuse.
“For a $1,000 (£638) laptop, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay a royalty of $22.50 (£14) for its 50 patents on the video standard,” said Heiner “There are at least 2,300 other patents needed to implement this standard. They are available from a group of 29 companies that came together to offer their H.264 patents to the industry on FRAND terms. Microsoft’s patent royalty to this group on that $1000 laptop? Two cents.”
Google, having finally had its acquisition of Motorola cleared by the EC and US authorities, also comes under fire from Microsoft for its supposed unwillingness to establish a fairer royalty with its soon-to-be acquisition.
In a statement from Joaquin Almunia regarding Google-Motorola, the EC’s vice president explicitly said that action would be taken to “ensure that the use of standard essential patents by all players in the sector is fully compliant with EU competition law and with FRAND commitments to standard setting organisations.”
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