Nice Try: Motorola Demanded a License to Every One of Apple’s Patents

Published on March 13, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Motorola Mobility’s request that Apple pay it patent royalties of 2.25 percent on sales of some iPhones and iPads in return for a license to its standards-essential patents, while aggressive, was not the most onerous demand in the negotiations between the two companies.

According to the European Commission’s decision on Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, published Monday and first noted by Bloomberg, Motorola hit Apple up for a lot more than just royalties.

It wanted access to the company’s patents, as well, and not just Standards-Essential Patents (SEP).

Motorola wanted a license to all of them. And when Apple refused to grant it, the company sued.

From a footnote in the EC document:

According to Apple, Motorola Mobility has insisted that Apple cross-licenses its full non-SEP portfolio in exchange for Motorola Mobility’s SEPs. Apple also argues that its refusal to accede to this demand led Motorola Mobility to sue Apple in an attempt to exclude Apple’s products from the market.

If Apple’s statement to the EC is accurate, that’s an incredible demand on Motorola’s part: A cross-license to Apple’s full patent portfolio, which covers everything from desktop PCs and mobile devices to operating systems, displays, packaging and power supplies. And while it was almost certainly just negotiation posturing, it really does make a mockery of the “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory” terms under which the industry-standard patents at issue here are supposed to be licensed.

Motorola and Apple both declined requests for comment.

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