Europe warns Google, Samsung on phone patent abuse

Apr 29 2014, 7:19am CDT | by

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Commission said Monday that Google's Motorola Mobility abused its market position in Europe by refusing to grant crucial technology licenses to rival Apple, then suing Apple for patent infringement when the company used them anyway.

Separately, Samsung settled a case where it had tried to use its patents to block Apple from bringing a phone to market.

But neither company was slapped with a fine.

At a press conference, the Commission's chief competition authority, Joaquin Almunia, said that's because it can be difficult to determine when a company has the right to protect its patents — which drive innovation — and when a dominant company is wielding the power a patent gives them to stifle competition and harm consumers.

"We are trying to trike the right balance" between patent holder rights and competition rules, Almunia said in Brussels, where the Commission, the European Union's executive arm, is based. "The Motorola case set up the framework we think should be followed."

Almunia said the dividing line should be when patents have become an industry standard.

In those cases, if someone wanting to use a patent agrees to pay "fair and reasonable terms" to use it, the holder must agree. In Motorola and other cases, disagreements about what's fair should be referred to arbitration — not used right away to block someone else from bringing a product to market.

Ultimately, however, companies may still decide to sue each other over patent infringement, as Apple, Samsung and others have been doing in courts around the world for several years.

Samsung agreed Tuesday not to try to seek injunctions against competitors for five years in Europe, and to submit future disagreements to arbitration along the lines Almunia suggested.

Google is in the process of selling Motorola to China's Lenovo.

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Need for Speed Reboot is Coming This Fall
Need for Speed Reboot is Coming This Fall
EA will release a complete new Need for Speed this fall. The video game giant just released a teaser video and the first Need for Speed Gameplay video will be revealed in June.
 
 
Google Self-Driving Cars to Hit Public Roads this Summer
Google Self-Driving Cars to Hit Public Roads this Summer
Google announced today that Google Car prototype vehicles will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View.
 
 
Google Search Analytics Launched in Web Master Tools
Google Search Analytics Launched in Web Master Tools
Google officially announced the new Search Analytics feature in Webmaster tools.
 
 
T-Mobile Hits Verizon with new 'Never Settle Trial' Campaign
T-Mobile Hits Verizon with new 'Never Settle Trial' Campaign
In case customers don't feel satisfied, T-Mobile will pay for them to shift back to Verizon