What does Microsoft and Apple have in common this month? Microsoft has joined Apple in filing an antitrust complaint against Motorola Mobility with the European Commission based on the grounds that Motorola has been unfairly leveraging their patents. Motorola used their patents to demand a 2.25% royalty from Apple from certain devices.
?In legal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly,? stated Microsoft VP and Deputy General Counsel of Corporate Standards & Antitrust Group Dave Heiner. ?The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises.?
In a blog post, Heiner described the differences between what Microsoft is doing in their patent licensing versus what Motorola is doing. Microsoft allows manufacturers that create a $1,000 laptop to use more than 2,300 patents for “2 cents.” Motorola is saying that Microsoft needs to pay a royalty of $22.50 for 50 patents on the same $1,000 laptop. For a $2,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding $45. The 50 patents are related to the H.264 video standard. Based on these comparisons, Motorola does seem to be demanding some excessive royalties in this case. And Motorola is viewed as unfair in this case because they are cutting into a standard that has been agreed upon by an industry.