Microsoft Says Motorola Mobility Blocks Sales in Complaint Filed With EU
By Jim Brunsden – Feb 22, 2012 9:45 AM ET
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) filed a complaint with European Union antitrust regulators saying Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) is attempting to block sales of personal computers and game consoles that run its software.
Motorola Mobility is violating a pledge to license industry-standard patents on fair terms, and is “demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market,” Microsoft said in a blog post. Apple Inc. (AAPL) has also filed a complaint to the EU over Motorola Mobility’s licensing terms.
“We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products,” Microsoft said. Legal actions taken by Motorola to enforce its patents may “kill” video-streaming services on the Internet, Microsoft said.
Motorola Mobility, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics Co., and Apple are involved in numerous patent lawsuits in Europe as demand for smartphones and tablets soar. Google Inc. (GOOG), which is buying Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, has indicated it will reassure intellectual property standards organizations that it will license Motorola Mobility patents on a fair and reasonable basis.
“Watching video on the Web is one of the primary uses of computers these days,” Microsoft said in its statement. “Imagine what a step back it would be if we could no longer watch videos on our computing devices or connect via Wi-Fi, or if only some products, but not others, had these capabilities,” it said.
The European Commission has “received this complaint and we will examine it,” Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia, said in an e-mail. Samsung is already being investigated by EU antitrust regulators over whether it broke licensing commitments.
Gemma Priscott and Jennifer Erickson, spokeswomen for Motorola Mobility, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Both Microsoft and Apple have said they wouldn’t seek any court order to block use of technology covered by industry- standard patents even as they pursue infringement claims over non-essential patents against Motorola Mobility.
Google has said it would seek a royalty fee of no more than 2.25 percent of the net cost of devices using its patents, and would try to resolve any disputes through negotiation before asking courts to block use of the Motorola Mobility technology.
“We are aware of the increasingly strategic use of patents in the sector and are vigilant,” Almunia said Feb. 13. “We can avoid a continuation of this patent war.”
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