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EU: Motorola demanded Apple license all its patents for deal

updated 07:25 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012

Motorola wanted complete access for Apple truce

The European Commission has posted details (PDF) of its approval of Google buying Motorola that may have uncovered an attempt to create a mostly one-sided licensing deal. Negotiations in late 2011 to reach a settlement had reportedly seen Motorola demand that Apple provide licensing for its entire non-standard patent collection just to get licenses for Motorola's 3G standards patents. Motorola had been aiming for a cross-licensing deal that would help all Android makers with the knowledge that Google's takeover might be approved.

An earlier portion of the document had suggested talks centered around "carve-outs" on both sides, but Apple had said that Motorola wanted unconditional access. EU officials approved Google's merger with Motorola in spite of this, noting that the "allegedly anti-competitive behaviour" on Motorola's part had begun before the merger started.

The Commission portrayal would suggest that Apple had offered to make a deal that could potentially have ended many Android-related lawsuits. Motorola's insistence on getting cross-license deals even for Apple's most important patents behind the iPhone and iOS, however, may have cost Android as a whole. Apple is known to have made offers to Motorola and Samsung and, through the EC publication, is known to consider royalties and bans less important than simply protecting the parts it believes are truly unique.

Reasonableness for Motorola's demands might depend on just what Apple had intended to exclude and what it would do with those exempted patents. If it had intended to exclude many of the patents being used in existing lawsuits, a cross-licensing deal wouldn't have been useful in ending the worldwide disputes. If Apple had included these in a peace offer and been shot down, however, it would risk overreaching on Motorola's part and create a ripple effect for HTC, Samsung, and others. [via Florian Mueller]

by MacNN Staff



  1. The Vicar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No wonder!

    Now we can see why Google wanted to buy Motorola: they are both effectively delusional and sociopathic, and therefore a great fit for each other.

  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Wow. That's low. Google and Moto trying to strong arm Apple.


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stupid Motorola Stupider Google

    Both Motorola and Google deserve each other - they are stupid beyond words.

  1. global.philosopher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No wonder

    This is why big corporations have legal departments and legal documents are so convuled. Every possible scenario must be considered when licensing a technology to a third party to ensure you are not being knowingly screwed over.
    A cross licensing deal would have been good for Motorola because it puts them ahead of the other Android OEM's but for Google they want all Android OEM's protected as large marketshare is important for them.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: No wonder

    Of course the deal would be good to Motorola dumb-a**, the value is about 10000 to 1 because the motorola patents are standards essential that have to be licensed on the cheap to everybody that needs them.
    Google will need to find another way to get a cross licence with Apple, that won't happen soon as Apple has learned the hard way with the Microsoft cross-licensing agreement.

  1. BigMac2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hello Moto

    Motorola is the initiator of the iPhone, they shouldn't have piss Apple off in their codeveloped phone venture (the ROKR) with really bad hardware and OS design.

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