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Microsoft accuses Motorola Mobility, Google of standard patent abuse


09:13, February 23, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Microsoft on Wednesday accused Motorola Mobility and Google of standard patent abuse in its latest antitrust complaint with the European Union.

In the formal competition law complaint filed on Wednesday, Microsoft accused Motorola Mobility of not offering essential patents on fair and reasonable terms, saying the mobile manufacturer attempted to block sales of some Microsoft products using its patents related to web videos.

The complaint came a week after the U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission approved Google's 12.5-billion-U.S.dollar acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

"In legal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly," said Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner in a blog post titled "Google: please don't kill video on the web."

Heiner said Motorola is demanding Microsoft to pay a royalty of 22.5 dollars for its 50 patents on the video standard for every 1, 000-dollar laptop, while a total of 29 companies only charge Microsoft "two cents for use of more than 2,300 patents."

Motorola's alleged patent abuse is called FRAND licensing obligations, a legal acronym for "fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory." It is a principle of keeping fair licensing of intellectual property, so as to avoid abusive patent-related behavior and make everyone in the industry have fair access to certain technologies.

It is not the first time that Motorola is hit with alleged FRAND abuse. Earlier this month, Apple accused the company of violating FRAND standards in an appealing to a German court after the court granted Motorola's request to remove older iPhones from the online Apple store in Germany and permanently ban Apple's push email service.

Florian Mueller, a legal consultant who has been closely following patent litigation in the tech industry, said in his blog Foss Patents that aggressive use of standard essential patents in lawsuits is a problematic strategy and may backfire.

For instance, on Jan. 31, the European Commission announced to launch a formal investigation into whether Samsung has used some of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in the European mobile device markets.


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