DoJ allows Google acquisition of Motorola, but calls FRAND commitments 'ambiguous'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its investigation into Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, though it did note that Google was "more ambiguous" than rivals Apple and Microsoft in affirming Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory licensing agreements for standard-essential patents.



In a statement on Monday, the Justice Department said they concluded the investigation because Google is "unlikely to materially alter" Motorola's "long and aggressive history" of leveraging its intellectual property against its rivals. As such, a transfer of ownership rights from Motorola to Google would not represent a significant change in the competitive landscape.



Google announced last August that it had reached an agreement with Motorola Mobility to acquire the company for $12.5 billion. CEO Larry Page indicated that legal pressure from Apple and Microsoft had forced the company to protect itself by merging with Motorola.



The agency's announcement comes on the heels of regulatory approval of the Google/Motorola deal in the European Union. The European Commission is allowing the merger to go ahead, but it warned that it will keep a close watch on patent litigation due to concerns that Google "can abuse" Motorola's patents by linking them with its Android devices. The DoJ said in its statement that it had "cooperated closely" with the European Commission in its investigation of the deal.



According to the investigation, Google's commitments to FRAND licensing have been "less clear" than Apple and Microsoft's vocal commitments (1, 2) to not threaten competitors with injunctions for standard-essential patents (SEPs). The DoJ notes Google as having stated that it will refrain from pursuing injunctive relief over infringement of SEPs only for disputes involving future license revenues and only if the counterpart agrees not to challenge the validity of the patent, pays the full disputed amount into escrow and agrees to a reciprocal process regarding injunctions.



"Google’s statement therefore does not directly provide the same assurance as [Apple's and Microsoft's] statements concerning the exercise of its newly acquired patent rights," the statement read.



The agency went on to note that it will allow Google's acquisition of Motorola's patents, but it still has concerns about what Google will do with those patents once the deal is completed. It pledged to "continue to monitor" the use of SEPs in the wireless device industry, especially for smartphones and tablets.



Motorola has had some initial success in Europe with wielding its SEPs against Apple. The company won two out of three injunctions for its essential patents in a German court in recent months.



Apple, however, has fought back with an "antisuit lawsuit" against Motorola. The Cupertino, Calif., company alleges that Motorola's German lawsuit is in "direct breach" of a patent licensing agreement with Qualcomm that extends to Apple.



Motorola apparently sent a letter to Qualcomm last year terminating "any and all license and covenant rights with respect to Apple." Qualcomm responded by claiming that Motorola was not entitled to revoke its rights because of Apple's own lawsuits.



Samsung attempted the same maneuver with its FRAND-encumbered patents last year in France, but the court ultimately decided that FRAND declarations required irrevocable licenses to be granted.



Motorola has also come under fire after it was revealed that the company is seeking 2.25 percent of Apple's sales for a patent license. Apple has submitted motions to see Motorola's contracts with other handset vendors to determine whether the 2.25 percent is fair. The requested royalty rate has been characterized as exorbitant by some because handset profits would be quickly eroded if other companies that hold patents for standards demanded similar rates.





Credit: Foss Patents







Monday's announcement also included the news that the Justice Department had closed its investigation into the acquisition of Nortel's patents by a consortium, which includes Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion and others. Apple's purchase of patents originally owned by Novell was also given the green light by the agency.





[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    I'm glad to see the "good" and "evil" being recognized by the DoJ and that they'll "keep an eye" on the evil.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    right and Apple isn't. Apple is just as guilty.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by specter2009 View Post


    right and Apple isn't. Apple is just as guilty.



    I wouldn't go there if I were you. You're barking up the wrong Apple tree.....by saying that here.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,407member
    Ohhh, too bad for Google! Now they're going to have to go through with the merger.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    Ohhh, too bad for Google! Now they're going to have to go through with the merger.



    This merge with Motorola has big chances of backfiring to Google and then, Larry Page's head will be served to shareholders, as it will be difficult to explain why they bought a flop decadent company that loses market share every day.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post


    I wouldn't go there if I were you. You're barking up the wrong Apple tree.....by saying that here.



    What you done like the truth, iSheep



    Sorry iFans, for the poor grammar



    What, you don't like the truth, iSheep
  • Reply 7 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gunnar23 View Post


    What you done like the truth, iSheep



    What, you don't like to spell correctly or punctuate, gunnar23?



    ZING!
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gunnar23 View Post


    What you done like the truth, iSheep



    Huh? Make sense, please.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    Game is most certainly on if the DoJ and EU are in communication with each other over this.



    There are too many government officials talking about patents. Google/Moto/Samsung better have something up their sleeves because this isn't going to end well for them.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    sennensennen Posts: 1,463member
    Fandroids/Googlites currently going into melt-down over perceived unfairness of the DoJ. Makes for great reading.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by specter2009 View Post


    right and Apple isn't. Apple is just as guilty.



    If you don't know the difference between standards-essential patents and non-standards-essential patents, you've got some learning to do. But why learn when you can just spout off in ignorance?
  • Reply 12 of 32
    Apple comes across as an A$$hole company, because they make the lion share of mobile profits, have great products and customer base. they have nothing to fear.

    So why go after every small mobile player, it is BS and Apple is bully.

    I was an Apple fan back in the day, had a G3 blue and white, a G4 and now a MacBook Pro ( a few years old).

    Every law suit Apple starts is petty, nonsense stuff like how to slide touch to unlock.



    Without Steve Jobs and caught up in law suits with a host of companies might be their long term undoing.

    We'll see, but no one likes a bully, well maybe iSheep do.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    sennensennen Posts: 1,463member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gunnar23 View Post


    <snip> ...it is BS and Apple is bully... <snip> We'll see, but no one likes a bully, well maybe iSheep do.



    Apple is a bully for saying to the DoJ that they won't sue those who use it's technology if licensed under FRAND conditions?
  • Reply 14 of 32
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Google, Android, and Samsung are "small mobile players"?
  • Reply 15 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    Ohhh, too bad for Google! Now they're going to have to go through with the merger.



    What Merger? Motorola mobility is going to be ran as a separate entity. Google doesn't want to merger in to the current business.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    sennensennen Posts: 1,463member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sennen View Post


    Fandroids/Googlites currently going into melt-down over perceived unfairness of the DoJ. Makes for great reading.



    This one is fabulous:



    "Frankly if I had my way I'd burn Apple to ground and not give a single care in the world. They more then any other company right now are stifling innovation in every conceivable measure. The fanbois will scream patents. How can the above be seen as anything other then a method to slow down competition? Not through innovative methods, but by BS patents that should NEVER be granted. EVER, and if they are should never be used. Apple is a patent troll. Period."
  • Reply 17 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gunnar23 View Post


    Apple comes across as an A$$hole company, because they make the lion share of mobile profits, have great products and customer base. they have nothing to fear.

    So why go after every small mobile player, it is BS and Apple is bully.

    I was an Apple fan back in the day, had a G3 blue and white, a G4 and now a MacBook Pro ( a few years old).

    Every law suit Apple starts is petty, nonsense stuff like how to slide touch to unlock.



    Without Steve Jobs and caught up in law suits with a host of companies might be their long term undoing.

    We'll see, but no one likes a bully, well maybe iSheep do.



    Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...
  • Reply 18 of 32
    sennensennen Posts: 1,463member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    What Merger? Motorola mobility is going to be ran as a separate entity. Google doesn't want to merger in to the current business.



    Yep, not a merger. However... Google has veto power over IP-related actions by MMI starting back from August 2011:



    http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/08/1...he-highlights/



    Google has said it intends to let Moto continue on it's present course of litigation:



    http://fosspatents.blogspot.com.au/2...ds-bodies.html





    With apologies to aiken_d.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple v. Samsung View Post


    What Merger? Motorola mobility is going to be ran as a separate entity. Google doesn't want to merger in to the current business.



    It still has to book the MMI losses on its consolidated earnings.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post


    Huh? Make sense, please.



    Yeah, and that was AFTER he edited his original post.



    I love it when they call us iSheep and they use the handset that's got the majority market share.



    Classic!
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