Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

What Happens Now on Standards-Essential Patents?

Liz Gannes for AllThingsD:

The FTC is now on record saying that Google acted unfairly. That’s big.

That’s a really big part of this otherwise-undramatic settlement, especially given the letter Google set the IEEE early last year. Daniel Eran Dilger of AppleInsider:

Google “explicitly endorses” Motorola’s position that 2.25 percent royalties of the “net selling price of end products” are “fair and reasonable,” while leaving the door open to seek court injunctions against companies that are still negotiating these onerous terms, essentially using open standards to threatening to kill competitors’ products untiles they agree to pay Motorola, soon to be a subsidiary of Google, significant ongoing royalties completely unrelated to the value those patents add to the overall product in question.

It should shock nobody that Google admitted that this was unfair, and that they’re not able to use Motorola’s FRAND patents against competitors in an unfair way. Gannes continues:

For Microsoft and Apple, which have both been battling it out with Google and Motorola over disagreements concerning SEPs, this is vindication of their arguments. They have claimed for some time now that Google has not honored its obligation to license Motorola’s standards-essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).

And now the FTC has come forward and said not only that this is indeed the case, but that Google can’t try to ban competing products using patents they licensed under a FRAND agreement. The settlement effectively de-weaponizes Motorola’s SEPs.