Motorola Mobility found guilty of breaching EU competition law, but escapes a fine

Motorola Mobility abused a dominant market position in the way it asserted patents essential to industry standards, the Commission said

Motorola Mobility has been found guilty of breaching European Union competition law but escaped a fine from EU regulators.

The European Commission on Tuesday ordered Motorola to eliminate the negative effects resulting from abuse of a dominant position.

Motorola Mobility will have to drop legal injunctions against Apple over so-called standards-essential patents. SEPs are patents that the holders declare essential to the implementation of technology standards such as those for 3G or GSM mobile devices, or H.264 video streaming. Because being able to follow these standards is crucial for all market players, standards bodies typically require patent-holders such as Motorola Mobility to agree to license such patents on fair, reasonable and non­discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia could have imposed a fine of up to 10 percent of the company's global turnover, but said Tuesday that there would be no such sanction. The company escaped a fine because there is no Commission decisional practice or EU court case law regarding the matter at issue, and national courts within the EU have reached different conclusions on the matter.

The Commission opened a formal probe into Motorola Mobility in April 2012 after the company sought an injunction on sales of Apple products it alleged infringed its patents. Seeking court injunctions is generally a legitimate remedy for patent holders in case of patent infringements, said the Commission. However, the Motorola Mobility injunctions relating to part of the GSM standard were found to constitute an abuse of a dominant position.

Microsoft has also filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility claiming the company was charging too much for use of its standards-essential patents in Microsoft products, in particular those relating to the H.264 codec. An investigation into that case was continuing, but Almunia is not yet in a position to make a ruling, he said Tuesday.

Motorola Mobility's current owner, Google, is in the process of selling it to Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion, but plans to retain most of the company's patent portfolio.

As part of a separate but similar investigation into the way Samsung Electronics asserted its own patent portfolio, the Commission made concessions offered by Samsung legally binding. According to these commitments, Samsung will not seek injunctions in Europe on the basis of its SEPs.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleMicrosoftintellectual propertypatentlegalMotorola Mobility

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?