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EU approves Google's acquisition of Motorola, will monitor for patent abuse

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Google's $12.5 billion plan to acquire Motorola Mobility has received regulatory approval by the European Union, but the European Commission has said it will monitor ongoing patent litigation to ensure compliance with EU antitrust rules.

According to a report by Reuters, the EU executive's review of Google's plans determined that the acquisition "would not significantly change the market for operating systems and patents for these devices."

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement that "this transaction does not itself raise competition issues," but added, "this merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry."

Almunia also warned, "we might be obliged to open some cases in the future. This is not enough to block the merger but we will be vigilant."

Google's acquisition is still undergoing regulatory approval by the US Justice Department and regulatory bodies in China, Taiwan and Israel. The US is expected to approve the purchase this week, and China is reportedly approaching a deadline next month where it will either approve the deal or expand its review into a third phase, Reuters said.

Patent abuse

The EC noted Google's pledge to continue to license Motorola's standards essential patents (required to implement open specifications such as WiFi, GSM and UMTS) under "fair reasonable and nondiscriminatory" FRAND terms, but noted that "the promise was not a decisive element in its decision."

Last year, Google's top attorneys complained in blog posts that legal challenges brought against Android and its licensees by Apple, Oracle and Microsoft were "attacks" using "bogus patents" as "a weapon" to stop innovation.

Google has also complained about FRAND patent royalties connected to the use of MPEG's H.264 video compression standard, largely due to the fact that as the operator of YouTube, it is one of the web's largest users of Internet video.

Motorola, however, has initiated a multifaceted strategy that seeks to monetize its standards essential patents, claiming 2.25 percent royalties on Apple devices using a specific patent related to 3G, and all of Microsoft's products making use of patent related to H.264 video compression.

Apple has sued Motorola, claiming that its 3G patent in question is already licensed by Qualcomm, which makes the chips Apple uses, and that Qualcomm's license also covers its use in iPhones and iPads. Microsoft also already pays MPEG LA royalties for H.264.

Motorola argues that any standard that has incorporated a patent owned by the company gives it unilateral bargaining value, the very issue Apple began complaining about when it called out Samsung and Motorola for their efforts to effectively monopolize the standards process leveraging patents the companies had already committed to FRAND licensing

Defending infringement

Google has stated that its purchase of Motorola Mobility was initiated to use the company's patents to "defend Android," but Motorola itself has been unable to defend its own use of Android, resorting instead to broad FRAND claims and threats of sales injunctions that, before they were suspended by the courts, forced Apple to temporarily remove products from the shelf in Germany.

Motorola has posted a series of operating losses in the mobile phone business, despite still being free to sell its products. Apple is currently suing Motorola over infringement of a series of operating system and user interface patents, while Motorola's defense in that case has centered on three standards essential patents.

Unlike Apple's design or technology patents, such "standards essential" patents don't necessarily have to be innovative or novel, and they can't be worked around by competitors because they are tied to required elements of a technology portfolio. For this reason, standards bodies generally require their patent holders to agree to FRAND licensing terms.

If every stakeholder in the H.264 or 3G/UMTS patent pool demanded 2.24 percent royalty fees instead of agreeing to FRAND terms, the total cost of those fees would be many times greater than the retail price of those products.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 18
Moto Mobi will be an anchor around Google's neck !! Mark my words.
post #3 of 18
I am trying to figure out how singling out Apple and demanding a 2.25% royalty from them and nobody else is fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.

I hope the Europeans reach out and slap down Google (and Samsung) on this. You can't seek for your patents to be adopted as standard and than use that to bludgeon your competitors. Even as a response to their patent suits. Find some non-FRAND patents to retaliate with, the public good is being violated when FRAND patents are used for strategic litigation.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

I am trying to figure out how singling out Apple and demanding a 2.25% royalty from them and nobody else is fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.

Well, it's not.

Let the fun begin!


OT: How many months remain now on the PageRank patent?
post #5 of 18
Sounds like the european council just approved one extortionist to buy another extortionist.
Googles "letter" is baloney. It basically says that google will continue motorolas extortion of 2.25% for frand patents to anyone they don't like. What a crock. That 2.25% is on all xbox completed unit sales and all iphone complete unit sales which is ludicrous.
post #6 of 18
Instead of FRAND, Moto is using their own version: UUAD.

That's Unfair, Unreasonable, and Discriminatory.
post #7 of 18
1. Buying Motorola means buying any penalties that Motorola might incur.

2. Buying Motorola means Apple can attack Google directly on the patent front, since Google will become a manufacturer of Android phones.
post #8 of 18
Lol! Thank you for the "unbiased" perspective folks. Please continue to entertain me. Such a hypocritical joke.
post #9 of 18
The threat to the consumer and why this merger should have been rejected has noting to do with patent abuse.

Google will use Motorola's cable box business to get near 100% market penetration with GoogleTV.
This is a huge problem for consumers as they rarely have an alternative to the cable box provided by the cable company.

The second issue is the invasion of privacy that Google will perpetrate by having the platform to collect even more data on users, this time TV, and the ability to serve even more ads - again without any consumer choice.
post #10 of 18
Given the associated comments from EU, it would have been better for Google this acquisition to be blocked !
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by yu119995 View Post

Lol! Thank you for the "unbiased" perspective folks. Please continue to entertain me. Such a hypocritical joke.

Your 7 posts on this site are just swimming with useful content.
post #12 of 18
European Commission: "Messieurs. Your deal, she is approved."

Google: "That's what ah'm TALKIN about! Thanks bro! Dude, we're SAVED! Issha birfday! Issha birfday! "

... two minutes later ...

Google: "What? What do you mean by 'FRAND-encumbered'? No WAY."

... two more minutes later ...

Google: "Major bummer dude. Srsly. Can we get our money back?"

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

Reply

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

Reply
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechanic View Post

Sounds like the european council just approved one extortionist to buy another extortionist.

That's exactly why they are allowing it. It will be much easier to take down one extortionist than two.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

That's exactly why they are allowing it. It will be much easier to take down one extortionist than two.

Lol I hope so, with googles letter outright endorsing motorolas behaviour it will be hard for them not to. Apple and Microsoft cases aside, motorolas behaviour and google in there letter endorsing that behaviour is very bad for the industry and sets a terrible precedence for the industry as a whole

Here is a link to what the same commisioner said about FRAND patent abuse and his determination to stop samsung and quite possibly motorola if they continue in there current course, which soon will be googlorola and google supports whole-heartedly motorolas current course.

http://english.capital.gr/News.asp?id=1407603

Also a link to googles letter that states what they will do after they take over motorola and continue motorolas anticompetative attitude towards the industry:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/80976133/1...on-MMI-Patents
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

The threat to the consumer and why this merger should have been rejected has noting to do with patent abuse.

Google will use Motorola's cable box business to get near 100% market penetration with GoogleTV.
This is a huge problem for consumers as they rarely have an alternative to the cable box provided by the cable company.

The second issue is the invasion of privacy that Google will perpetrate by having the platform to collect even more data on users, this time TV, and the ability to serve even more ads - again without any consumer choice.

Are cable boxes even a product of MotoMo?
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo42 View Post

Are cable boxes even a product of MotoMo?

Yes. Outlined in the PR statement generated by Google when they announced the acquisition.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Yes. Outlined in the PR statement generated by Google when they announced the acquisition.

You know many people who tote around their DVRs?

Do you know at what point this decision was made? I mean, when did these boxes become part of the mobile division, or have they always been?

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #18 of 18
These patent wars do no good to anyone.

Yeah, Google may have gotten Motorola, but it will be to their downfall if they pursue that path. Maybe they will try to improve the market(hopefully). So here's to optimism.

But on side note, is this so really bad? People started hating Google, but I think every manufacturer is to blame equally. And all this because of all the economic woes and the desperate attempt to control the market.
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