This week the European Commission has made two competition-related rulings that could transform the legal landscape for technology companies involved in patent disputes.
In one case, it’s concluded that Motorola abused its position as the holder of ‘standards essential’ GSM patents by enforcing an injunction against Apple in Germany. Apple had previously agreed to pay royalties based on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms decided by a court, but Motorola wanted to enforce additional conditions. Motorola has been ordered “to eliminate the negative effects” resulting from its action.
The other case will see Samsung committing not to seek injunctions on the basis of standards-essential 3G patents against any potential licensee that agrees to accept a specified licensing framework with FRAND terms set by a court or arbitration. Samsung had launched court action against Apple in various EU Member States on the basis of these patents.
Joaquin Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition policy, said “Today’s decisions reflect the Commission’s balanced approach with respect to intellectual property rights and competition rules. Both competition and the protection of intellectual property are essential to innovation and growth. This means that IP rights should not be misused to the detriment of competition and ultimately consumers. I would encourage other industry players to consider establishing similar dispute resolution mechanisms.”
[More details: fosspatents.com]