Just couple days passed from the moment Apple’s complaint against Motorola Mobility came public, and now, Microsoft decided to take position, and press charges against Motorola at the European Comission, as well. Both, Apple and Microsoft, claim that Motorola (now owned by Google) is making FRAND (fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) patent abuse.
These FRAND licensing obligations state that a company which owns an essential technology to a particular industry, should make efforts to license that technology even to competition.
“Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course” said Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft.
This complaint is the response to Motorola’s patent suit for H.264 technology, that demands Microsoft pull its products, Xbox and Windows PCs, from stores, or remove their video streaming capacity and the possibility of connecting to the Internet wirelessly.
“The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises.” says Heiner again.
“In a searing example, Microsoft says Motorola demands $22.50 on any $1,000 Windows laptop sold to satisfy its 50 patents on H.264. To use the standard at all, Microsoft says, it must satisfy 2,300 other patents, which costs the company a grand total of two cents. Microsoft says Motorola’s demands not even “remotely close” to reasonable, and it’s hard to disagree.”
Patent expert, Florian Mueller from Foss Patents, seem to agree with Apple and Microsoft complaints. He wrote in a blog post:
“If every owner of standard-essential patents behaved like Motorola, this industry would be in chaos, and grind to a halt.”
We are all curious about what EU will do, because these patents may affect fundamental capabilities of thousands products and it is a move that could seriously damage the tech ecosystem.