Apple Asks European Organization to Standardize Patent Licensing

Apple and Motorola have really been going at it over the last few weeks. Motorola seems to have the upper hand in the ongoing patent lawsuit, as it recently won a court decision forcing Apple to remove some of its products from its online store.

But Apple’s [obviously] not going down without a fight. It claims that the patents that Motorola is holding against it are standards-essential patents (required to function), and, if nothing else, should be licensable under FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non Discriminatory) terms…

Motorola is reportedly asking Apple for 2.25% (over $1 billion) of its sales to license its patents that it’s currently asserting against the iPhone-maker — which is anything but fair and reasonable. Patent expert Florian Mueller called the request excessive, considering how many companies hold similar standards-essential patents. And Apple seems to agree.

According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple has asked the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) to develop rules for setting appropriate royalty rates related to standards-essential patents. It has also asked that these patents not be allowed to be used to seek injunctions, as it gives the patent holder a tremendous amount of leverage in royalty negotiations.

Apple’s not the only one who thinks Motorola is trying to monopolize patent standards by using its portfolio of standards-essential patents to extort money. The European Commission is currently investigating the manufacturer on suspicion of anti-trust practices.

Apple could really use the ETSI’s help on this, and fast. Even though the product ban in Germany last week was only temporary, it could happen again within the next couple of weeks. And this time, the ban might not be so short-lived.