Apple files complaint against Motorola over FRAND abuse

Well we all saw this coming. Electronista is reporting that Apple has just filed a complaint with the European Commission regarding Motorola’s recent legal actions. The handset-maker won an injunction in Germany last month, resulting in the temporary ban of some of Apple’s products.

But Apple has maintained that the patents that Motorola is asserting against it are industry standard, and therefore fall under FRAND jurisdiction. And since Motorola doesn’t seem to want to offer Apple a FRAND license, Apple went to the EC…

According to the report, a recent SEC filing revealed that Motorola has received a letter from the European Commission notifying them of Apple’s inquiry. The details of the complaint have not been made public yet, but we’re assuming that it has something to do with the recent Germany injunction.

Apple feels that unlike its own software and design-oriented lawsuits that it has lodged against Samsung and other Android partners, Motorola’s lawsuit involves patents on hardware that is necessary to the function of any smartphone and would be difficult, if not impossible, to work around.

That’s why it’s calling FRAND abuse, because under Fair Reasonable and Non-discriminatory terms, companies holding industry-standard patents must offer reasonable licensing terms on those patents to other companies. And Motorola’s licensing offer to Apple was anything but reasonable.

Apple might actually get its way here. EU officials have already started initial antitrust investigations into both Motorola and Samsung due to their legal actions regarding their FRAND patents. And if the European Commission steps in, then Motorola will either have to abandon its lawsuit against Apple, or substantially lower its licensing fee. Interesting.