EU Antitrust Ruling Says Google Abusing Patent Position in German Lawsuit Against Apple
Monday May 6, 2013 7:01 am PDT by Eric Slivka
The New York Times reports that Google and its Motorola Mobility unit have been found to be abusing their patent dominance in 3G wireless networking technology by the European Commission. The ruling, which comes in the form of a preliminary finding that could lead to formal antitrust charges but has yet to do so, addresses Motorola’s efforts to bar European sales of Apple’s 3G mobile devices over infringement of “standards essential” patents that Motorola is required to license under reasonable terms. Apple did briefly pull a number of devices from its German online store in February 2012, but they quickly returned after an injunction was lifted and Apple later won long-term protection from sales bans while its appeal in the case is heard. The European Commission’s report today calls Motorola’s efforts to enforce a sales ban based on these standards essential patents “an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by E.U. antitrust rules.”
As I’ve noted in previous threads, this is an example of the insane, mutually conflicting policies of national governments. On the one hand, they enact antitrust statutes to penalize private “monopolies,” even though the only real monopolies that are possible are those created by the state. Then, they create these monopolies by way of patent grants. They thus set up a “tension” between competing government “policies,” and this has to be “balanced.” Hey, I’ve got an idea—get rid of both patent law and antitrust law.
For more, see:
- Government Gives Samsung and Motorola Monopoly Patent Grants; then Probes them for “Patent Abuse”
- Pro-IP Libertarians Upset about FTC Poaching Patent Turf
- When Antitrust and Patents Collide (Rambus v. FTC)
- The Schizo Feds: Patent Monopolies and the FTC
- IP vs. Antitrust
This type of schizophrenic behavior by the state is not limited to patents vs. antitrust law. It manifests itself in myriad was, e.g. the “tension” between copyright (and patent) and the first amendment (Blackmail, Copyright, Libel and Free Speech; Copyright Censorship versus Free Speech and Human Rights; Excessive Fines and the Eighth Amendment; Copyright is Unconstitutional), and other cases, e.g. Patents and Pot: Feds’ patents say medical marijuana is good, drug war disagrees.