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European Commission Begins Investigation Into Motorola Patent Lawsuits

The European Commission has launched a pair of antitrust investigations against Motorola Mobility to see if the company used its patents to unfairly hinder the competition in the European market - something that would breach EU antitrust rules.

This all comes following complaints by both Apple and Microsoft, who aren't happy with the action Motorola has taken in attempting to enforce injunctions against the iPhone and iPad, along with the Xbox and Windows.

The charge levelled at Motorola is that it has failed to honour commitments regarding licensing "standard-essential" (industry standard) patents under fair and reasonable (FRAND) terms.

Apple battled against Motorola over one patent in Germany, which initially led to a ban of certain iPhone and iPad models in the country in 2011, but that ruling was later overturned.

A statement from Motorola said: "Motorola Mobility is confident that a thorough investigation will demonstrate that it has honoured its FRAND obligations and complied with anti-trust laws."

"[We] will continue to work closely with the European Commission to resolve this matter as soon as practicable."

Patent expert Florian Mueller noted: "Germany is the only EU member state in which Motorola is suing Apple and Microsoft over standard-essential patents."

"The commission's decision to launch these formal investigations should serve as food for thought for certain judges in the largest EU member state, who have shown a worrying tendency in recent years to put patent law far above anti-trust law."

Given the massive amount of patent actions initiated over the past year or so, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the mobile industry is no longer about innovation, but litigation.

Source: BBC (opens in new tab)

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.