It must seem like Apple is in a constant legal battle with the likes of Motorola and Samsung, and to be quite honest, they are. Like children squabbling in the playground they fight name-calling with name-calling, lawsuit with lawsuit. Like all spoilt children however, Apple has grown tired of petty games and tattled on Motorola.
On Friday Motorola revealed that Apple had issued a complaint against them, and that the EuropeanÂ CommissionÂ would soon be investigating MMI:
“On 17 February, 2012, [Motorola] received a letter from the European Commission, Competition Directorate-General… notifying it that the Commission has received a complaint against Motorola Mobility… by Apple,”
So what exactly are these allegations? Well, Apple is accusing Motorola of enforcing their standards-essential patents in such a manner that it breaches MMI’s commitments to FRAND. For those of you who don’t know, FRAND stands for Fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. The “standards-essential” patents are things that relate to mainstream, vital technologies like 3G. The FRAND conditions are there to ensure that the holder, in this case Motorola, cannot charge excessive royalty fees to anyone who wishes to use these patents, and, all rivals must be charged the same amount.Â
FRAND patents are essential to devices like the iPhone 4S
Motorola is currently trying to enforce a royalty rate of 2.25% of the relevant devices’ net sale price, so the price of the whole device, rather than the specific component that utilises that particular patent. Google, who are in the process of buying Motorola, have boldly stated that they intend to maintain this policy. Â Apple claims that the percentage given is unacceptable, and they also hold that Motorola should not be able to sue Apple, or any other company over the use of a FRAND-protected patent. Don’t worry Samsung, Apple’s got your back on this one.
It comes as no surprise that these allegations have arisen in the wake of Motorola suing Apple. Over standards-essential patents. Sneaky huh? I’m sure a lot of you will point out that Apple sued Motorola too, put none of those were FRAND related.
So that’s the story, but I do have one question, if you know the answer by all means let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TiP_Stephen, my question is this:
These “standard-essential” patents are essential in creating a competitive device, regardless of brand. Companies that need the patents go to the companies that hold the patents and pay the royalty rate to use the patent. Unless there’s something more to it, how can anyone then sue a company over the use of the patent if the company using the patent has already paid for the patents use? Maybe this is what Apple is trying to stop, but the question still remains as to why it happens in the first place? Be sure to leave an answer if you have one, or just leave us your opinion on the story.