FTC Investigating Motorola Mobility Over Industry Standard Patent Licensing
Motorola Mobility's patent licensing practices are under investigation by the FTC. Multiple companies including Apple, Motorola Mobility, and Microsoft, have been sent civil investigative demands (read: civil subpenas) for information regarding Motorola's patent licensing practices. The probe comes after Microsoft and Apple brought up complaints against Motorola Mobility and how they license their industry standard FRAND patents. Companies that hold patents on technology that have been adopted as industry standards agree to license their patents fairly, reasonably, and non-discriminatory (FRAND), even when dealing with competitors. Apparently Apple and Microsoft believe that this has not been the case with Motorola Mobility. Supposedly, the patents in question are related to Wi-Fi and video standards, although this has not been confirmed. Another possible reason for the probe is Google's continued suit against Microsoft for infringing on some of their industry standard patents with the Xbox. Vice President of Intellectual Property at Motorola stated that Microsoft and Apple "seemingly won't accept any price" for licensing frand patents held by Motorola. The FTC and Apple declined to comment, while Microsoft at least admitted to receiving the FTC's inquiry, but wouldn't comment further. When asked about the FTC's probe, a spokesperson for Google stated, "We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms very seriously". We'll keep you updated as the investigation continues.