The European Commission announced today that it has opened two formal antitrust investigations against Motorola Mobility Inc. The Commission will assess whether Motorola has abusively, and in contravention of commitments it gave to standard setting organisations, used certain of its standard essential patents to distort competition in the Internal Market in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the cases as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigations.
Following complaints by Apple and Microsoft, the Commission will investigate, in particular, whether by seeking and enforcing injunctions against Apple’s and Microsoft’s flagship products on the basis of patents it had declared essential to produce standard-compliant products. Motorola engaged to license those standard-essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The Commission will examine whether Motorola’s behaviour amounts to an abuse of a dominant market position prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).
The EC explains:
Motorola gave such FRAND commitments to the relevant standard setting organisations, when the second and third generation (“2G” and “3G”) mobile and wireless telecommunications system standards, the H.264 video compression standard and the standards for wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies were adopted.
In order to guarantee undistorted competition and to reap the positive economic effects of standardisation it is important that FRAND commitments be fully honoured by the companies concerned.