EU takes aim at Motorola over patent fight with Apple | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 06.05.2013
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EU takes aim at Motorola over patent fight with Apple

European Union anti-trust officials have said they believe Motorola has abused its leading position in the German mobile phone market. They criticized its patent injunction against Apple over smartphone functions.

A statement from Brussels on Monday said the European Union had reached a preliminary assessment of a competition investigation opened in April 2012. It said Motorola's injunction against Apple amounted to the abuse of a dominant position, which is prohibited by EU anti-trust rules.

Apple argued that Motorola had abused its position by preventing it from acquiring a mobile phone technology license on fair, reasonable an non-discriminatory terms.

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"The protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of innovation and growth, but so is competition," European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

Looming fines

Google-owned Motorola had accused Apple of infringing on patented technology making touch screens ignore fingers when people were holding smartphones to their ears for calls. But Brussels found that was not a technical innovation in itself big enough to meet the requirements of European patent law.

"I think companies should spend their time innovating and competing on the merits of the products they offer, not misusing their intellectual property rights to hold up competitors to the detriment of innovation and consumer choice," Almunia commented.

Motorola will have the opportunity to respond to the allegation before the EU executive makes its final decision. Violators of the EU's anti-trust regulations risk fines than can amount to as much as 10 percent of their companies' annual turnover.

hg/pfd (AFP, dpa)

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