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Motorola v Apple

Written by Rehana Ali on 07 May 2013

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Motorola Mobility as owned by Google is reported to have abused its position in the German Mobile market following the filing of a patent injunction against Apple. Apple attempted to negotiate payment of a licence fee to Motorola for the use of their patents however the companies failed to reach an agreement on price.

Motorola obtained an injunction against Apple in February this year in relation to Apple products that used patents regarding data transmission technology.

Standard Essential Patents (SEP’s)

The dispute is centred upon SEP’s, such patents are indispensible for the functioning standards of mobile phone signal. Motorola’s patents are considered crucial to the GPRS data transmission for mobile phone networks across the world. Owners of SEP’s are obligated to licence the use of the patents to their competitors in return for a reasonable and non discriminatory fee.

The EU Competition Commission

The EU Competition Commission stated that Motorola obtained an injunction against Apple regardless of the fact that Apple had attempted to enter into an agreement with them.

The Commission stated that although the use of injunctions is an option for patent infringement, acquiring an injunction in the circumstances outlined above in relation SEP’s may be considered abusive, if a potential licensee is willing to enter into an agreement.

The Competition commissioner stated “the protection of on Intellectual property is a cornerstone of innovation and growth. Companies should not misuse their Intellectual property rights to hold up competitors to the detriment of innovation and consumer choice”

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