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Euro Commission Takes Stand Against Patent Abuse

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Apr 29, 2014, 8:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The European Commission today ruled that Motorola had broken the law by suing Apple over standard essential patents. Apple had agreed to license Motorola's patents, but when the two companies couldn't agree on a price, Apple used the patented technology anyway and was eventually sued by Motorola. Motorola sought to block sales of Apple's products in Europe. The EU has determined that if a company agrees to license a standard essential patent, the patent holder must do so at a fair and reasonable rate. Moving forward, companies that cannot agree on licensing terms will need to enter arbitration and can no longer file lawsuits against one another. The EU accepted a pledge from Samsung today also, which won't seek an injunction against Apple for standard essential patents. "The so-called smartphone patent wars should not occur at the expense of consumers," said EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. "While patent holders should be fairly remunerated for the use of their intellectual property, implementers of such standards should also get access to standardized technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms." Standard essential patents are those necessary for certain things, such as smartphones, to function properly. The European Commission did not fine either Motorola or Samsung, but it clearly wants patent abuse to end.

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