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Google says it will fairly license Motorola's patents

Needs to please the European Commission
Wed Feb 08 2012, 14:45

SMARTPHONE ARCHITECT Google has acknoledged the concerns of the European Commission (EC) by sending out letters to several standards organisations saying it will fairly license Motorola Mobility's patents should the merger go through.

Last year Google announced it planned to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn, a move widely recognised as an expensive way to expand its patent portfolio. While Google awaits EC approval for the deal, it has sweetened its bid by sending out letters to several organisations including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute pledging that it will fairly license out Motorola Mobility's patent portfolio.

Google's move is an attempt address some of the EC's concerns a week before it is set to make a decision on whether to approve the merger or not.

Google spokesperson Niki Fenwick told Bloomberg, "Since we announced our agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility last August, we've heard questions about whether Motorola Mobility's standard-essential patents will continue to be licensed on FRAND [fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory] terms once we've closed this transaction. The answer is simple: They will."

The EC will make its decision on Google's buyout of Motorola Mobility by 13 February. Should the EC not approve the merger it can conduct an investigation of the deal, which could last up to three months.

Google's claim that it will fairly license patents suggests it will be able to use Motorola Mobility's patents only in a defensive manner, rather than trying to mount first strikes against rivals' products with rival operating systems. It must be hoping this strategy will be enough to appease the EC and let it quickly close one of the biggest telecoms acquisitions in recent times. µ


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