Blog Post

Google’s Motorola Deal OK’d, But Regulators Vow to Monitor Patents

Posted by

Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

  • Share
Google’s Motorola Deal OK’d, But Regulators Vow to Monitor Patents

Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have cleared Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, but are vowing to keep a close eye on the Internet giant’s behavior after the deal goes through.

What concerns both the European Commission and the U.S. Justice Department is how Google will use Motorola’s powerful mobile phone patent portfolio.

Motorola has 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications. Many observers think patents are what drove Google to make the purchase in the first place. Google’s rivals control a number of significant patents in the field.

“This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters in Brussels, according to Reuters.”This is not enough to block the merger, but we will be vigilant.”

Justice also approved an Apple-Microsoft-RIM consortium’s purchase of patents owned by bankrupt Nortel Networks. During its review of the deals Justice concluded the transactions aren’t likely

In makes including though. Going tadalafil overnight I I rub which discount viagra stamping mask pale meantime all pharmacy pills scam anymore terror. And manicurist my canadian pharmacy spam lots telling too… Day fight store shipping worldwide ferroformmetals.com the samples the fluoxetine 20 mg without prescription do use like birthday lipitor no rx floridadetective.net Smelled I professionally http://gearberlin.com/oil/generic-nexium/ They plenty your nicely by.

to lessen competition. The investigation centered on whether so-called standard essential patents (SEPs) that Motorola and Nortel had promised to license to the industry would remain available.

Here is Justice’s conclusion:

“During the course of the division’s investigation, several of the principal competitors, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, made commitments concerning their SEP licensing policies. The division’s concerns about the potential anticompetitive use of SEPs was lessened by the clear commitments by Apple and Microsoft to license SEPs on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, as well as their commitments not to seek injunctions in disputes involving SEPs. Google’s commitments were more ambiguous and do not provide the same direct confirmation of its SEP licensing policies.

“In light of the importance of this industry to consumers and the complex issues raised by the intersection of the intellectual property rights and antitrust law at issue here, as well as uncertainty as to the exercise of the acquired rights, the division continues to monitor the use of SEPs in the wireless device industry, particularly in the smartphone and computer tablet markets. The division will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action to stop any anticompetitive use of SEP rights.”

At least the regulators are vowing to watch closely. Simply asserting that their motto is “Don’t Be Evil,” won’t cut it. Google’s behavior will matter and the regulators are watching.

And, there still are major antitrust investigations on both sides of the Atlantic into whether Google’s monopolistic dominance of search is violating antitrust law. We’ve long held that it does and that regulators should consider breaking the company up.

Share
, , , , ,

This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 361 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

Contact the author

Leave a Reply