Judge rules Google/Motorola should license patents to Apple

Karen Haslam
15 August, 2012
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A US judge has ruled that Motorola should have licensed its standards essential patents (SEPs) to Apple on fair terms.

Judge Crabb ruled that, since Motorola’s patents are standards essential, the company must uphold its commitments to offer licensing under “Fair, Reasonable and Nondisctiminatory” (FRAND) terms.

Motorola had asked for 2.25% of Apple’s net sales of iOS products that use its video streaming and Wi-Fi technology patents.

Apple believed that Motorola’s demands were unfair.

The ruling comes months after a similar ruling regarding the same patents by US District Judge James Robart’s in a patent dispute between Microsoft and Motorola.

Unfortunately for Apple, the Judge Crabb rejected some of Apple’s antitrust concerns because it could not prove any damages. She also dismissed Apple’s claim that Motorola interfered with its relationship with Qualcomm (the company who provides Apple’s baseband chip), again because Apple could not prove any actual harm, notes Foss Patents.

When Google acquired Motorola Mobility in a $12.5 billion deal, it promised to license the phone makers patents on reasonable terms. However, Apple Insider notes that the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission have begun investigating Google and Motorola over suspected FRAND abuse.

News that Google has laid of 4,000 Motorola Mobility staff has lead to fears that Motorola’s patents are all that matter to Google.

The Apple-Motorola case is scheduled to go to trial November 5.

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