Microsoft has announced today that it has filed an antitrust complaint against Motorola Mobility with the European Commission.
As with Apple, which submitted its own complaint last week, the issue at hand is the soon-to-be-Google-owned company’s alleged abuse of patents it holds which are required to be licensed to others on ’fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory‘ (FRAND) terms.
In particular, Microsoft’s beef is over patents relating to online video. In a post today, entitled ‘Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web‘, the company accuses Motorola Mobility of breaking its promise over licensing of FRAND patents, saying “Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.”
Microsoft sets out to demonstrate what it sees as Motorola Mobility’s unjust handling of FRAND patents:
“For a $1,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay a royalty of $22.50 for its 50 patents on the video standard, called H.264. As it turns out, there are at least 2,300 other patents needed to implement this standard. They are available from a group of 29 companies that came together to offer their H.264 patents to the industry on FRAND terms. Microsoft’s patent royalty to this group on that $1,000 laptop?”
That’s right. Just 2 cents for use of more than 2,300 patents. (Windows qualifies for a nice volume discount, but no firm has to pay more than 20 cents per unit.) Motorola is demanding that Microsoft pay more than 1,000 times that for use of just 50 patents.”
With another major complainant now throwing its hat into the ring, the chances of this escalating into a full-on European Commission investigation into Motorola Mobility’s patent handling seems to have ratcheted up a notch.