EC probes Motorola Mobility patent terms

Motorola Mobility faces scrutiny on two fronts in Europe, after the European Commission opened a pair of antitrust investigations into the US firm’s use of essential patents.

The Commission is probing whether Motorola has misused the patents by seeking injunctions on shipments of Apple and Microsoft products, along with allegations by the pair that Motorola failed to offer licenses on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

Essential patents are those declared a basic necessity to offering standards-compliant products. The EC is assessing if Motorola has broken its commitment to standards-setting bodies to offer FRAND access to the patents, and if the firm has breached European antitrust rules in the process.

Apple and Microsoft’s complaints center on separate patent litigation between the pair and Motorola relating to the iPhone, iPad, Windows software, and Xbox games console. Microsoft on Monday revealed it is moving its European Windows distribution center to the Netherlands to stave off the threat of a potential ban on shipments in Germany.

A Motorola statement appears to welcome the EC probe, claiming such investigation “will demonstrate that it has honored its FRAND obligations and complied with antitrust laws.”