Bloomberg News

Apple, Motorola Mobility Discussed Patent Settlement, EU Says

March 12, 2012

Apple Inc. (AAPL) held talks with Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. at the end of last year on a potential cross-licensing settlement to end a dispute over smartphone patents, according to a European Union document.

Apple and Motorola Mobility had discussions in late 2011 to license each others’ patents “possibly to the benefit of all Android” smartphone manufacturers, according to the document on the EU’s website, referring to Google Inc. (GOOG)’s operating system for smartphones and tablets. The companies “also discussed the scope of any potential settlement” after Google completes its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Apple and Motorola Mobility have sued each other in the U.S. and Europe over technology used in smartphones, a market that researcher IDC said grew 55 percent last year. Apple also filed an antitrust complaint with EU regulators after it said Motorola Mobility violated a pledge to license industry-standard patents on fair terms.

Apple told EU regulators that Motorola Mobility initially wanted it to license the company’s full patent portfolio in order to gain access to Motorola Mobility’s standard-essential patents, said the document which summarized the European Commission’s antitrust review of Google’s bid for Motorola Mobility.

Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility in San Diego, declined to immediately comment. Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple in London, didn’t immediately respond to a call and an e-mail seeking comment.

‘Refusal to Accede’

“Apple also argues that its refusal to accede to this demand led Motorola Mobility to sue Apple in an attempt to exclude Apple’s products from the market,” according to the EU document, published March 9 on the EU website.

Motorola Mobility, which has said it’s been in licensing talks with Apple since 2007, has previously said it licenses its patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms which it offered to Apple.

Google has said it would seek a royalty fee of no more than 2.25 percent of the net cost of devices using its patents, and would try to resolve any disputes through negotiation before asking courts to block use of the Motorola Mobility technology.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.


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