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The European Commission has informed Motorola Mobility of its preliminary view that the company's seeking and enforcing of an injunction against Apple in Germany on the basis of its mobile phone standard-essential patents ("SEPs") amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules.
While recourse to injunctions is a possible remedy for patent infringements, such conduct may be abusive where SEPs are concerned and the potential licensee is willing to enter into a license on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (so-called "FRAND") terms. In such a situation, the Commission considers at this stage that dominant SEP holders should not have recourse to injunctions, which generally involve a prohibition to sell the product infringing the patent, in order to distort licensing negotiations and impose unjustified licensing terms on patent licensees.
Such misuse of SEPs could ultimately harm consumers, according to the Commission. Read more at http://tinyurl.com/cu2p2j5 .
This is part of an ongoing battle. Apple has alleged that Motorola infringes 24 of its patents (21 of them with Android-based phones, the remaining three with set-top boxes and DVRs), while Motorola previously asserted 18 patents against a variety of Apple products (mostly but not exclusively iPhone, iPad and iPod). Litigation between the two companies has taken place in several different federal courts.