EU: Motorola Mobility demanded Apple license all its patents for deal

“Through a Bloomberg article I became aware of the fact that the European Commission’s clearance decision on Google’s proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility (MMI) has just been published and that it makes reference to patent cross-licensing negotiations between Apple and MMI,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents.

“Negotiations in late 2011 to reach a settlement had reportedly seen Motorola demand that Apple provide licensing for its entire non-standard patent collection just to get licenses for Motorola’s 3G standards patents,” Mueller reports reports. “Motorola had been aiming for a cross-licensing deal that would help all Android makers with the knowledge that Google’s takeover might be approved.”

Mueller reports reports, “There’s nothing in the EU document that suggests Apple and MMI weren’t able to agree on a royalty rate. The deal breaker was Apple’s insistence on restrictions and exclusions from a cross-license agreement. As we know now, Apple would be willing to enter into an agreement that benefits all Android device makers (though I’m sure this would require those other Android device makers to accept certain terms and conditions, as opposed to them just getting a free ride on a deal MMI strikes with Apple). But a total portfolio cross-license, which would deprive Apple of the protection of its exclusive intellectual property, is where Cupertino draws the line… Under the circumstance of MMI demanding the relinquishment of Apple’s crown jewels, Apple closed the door.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Motorola Mobility was either nuts or didn’t actually want a deal.

[Attribution: Electronista. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]


  1. Clever. Me thinks Google speaks with forked tongue. On the one hand they are telling Android handset makers that they will not favor Motorola over the others. I.e. look see… Motorola is trying to clear the field of future Apple lawsuits. The demand was highly unreasonable though, and Apple’s reaction was almost a certainty. So darn, Apple might sue the pants off any Android handset maker they want, and those that exist might just say screw it and get out of the Android business, and any with future plans might opt to use a different OS, and Google gets what they wanted all along, no one making Android handsets except Google Motorola, so they can build a single vendor ecosphere like Apple.

    1. Interesting theory monk, it’s certainly a sneaky one andcertaonly jives with schmidt’s sneaky backstabbing antics, but the Motorola sht was pulled before the Google buyout wasn’t it?

  2. It appears that MMI management was attempting to ‘trade’ the company’s patents for Apple’s patent portfolio in order to increase the takeover value of MMI.

    Before it proved the viability of that strategy, Google purchased MMI. If it had waited a few months — until MMI won at least one court decision — Google could have saved itself $12.5 billion and avoided alienating Samsung, HTC and other device manufacturers that are the main customers for Android.

    Florian Mueller makes it clear that Google & MMI are going down a dead-end road with their current patent strategy:

    “All things considered, Google as a whole may be better off by acting reasonably and cooperatively on the Android patent front.

    “The coming months, or years, will show how far Google is willing to go only to fight for the right to infringe third-party patents.”

  3. Ive always assumed the behind-the-scene negotiations were full of subtlety and nuance. Now it looks as if Motorola/Google is just a bull in a china shop.

    Do they really expect to get anywhere like this? Would any company trade away patents that allow for real differentiation, in exchange for patents which are part of industry standards (which every other manufacturer uses for a simple low fee)?

    1. Really this is just so blatantly wrong and against the spirit and intent of FRAND patents in so many ways. A company just can’t up and change their minds about their FRAND standards patents because they want to steal those innovative ones from another company that makes them unique. That’s blackmail. All these companies think they have the right to copy or just tak another companies R&D and good ideas, too lazy to innovate themselves..

  4. How stupid is Motorola to think Apple would have agreed to any of this?
    If a deal is not beneficial to both then there simply is no deal.

    Motorola was asking for way too much.
    As I understood, they wanted “unconditional access to iOS”;
    which would have been suicidal for Apple.

    Motorola: Hey Apple, if you want our 3G patent you need to accept the entire non-standards patent collection so that we can cross-licience to Android. Apple, you earn royalties on this non-standard collection while implementing full 3G exclusive ownership to iOS; however, we must gain access to iOS for this to occur.

    —- have misinterpret this?

  5. Actually I think it’s par for the course when it comes to negotiating. First pass, you ask for the moon. On subsequent passes, you get closer and closer to a result. Clearly a silly request, but it’s just part of the game.

    1. No, this is not “par for the course when it comes to negotiating”.

      You do not open negotiations with an obvious and blatant non starter position. You leave at least some kind of hint at compromise in your very first offer. Otherwise, negotiations break down before they even get started.

      Asking Apple to cross license 100% of its relevant patents, access to the relevant underlying pieces (if not all of, according to some reports) of iOS, and the right for *all* Android device makers to utilize those patents for use in exchange for rights to just MMI’s FRAND 3G patents is truly asinine and a non starter. Is it any wonder this ended up in court and MMI looking the fool?

  6. Motorola’s gonna loose, this won’t help them at all. They’ll either be forced to sell or licnce the FRAND at reasonable rates or be be denied their claims. They are proving to have acted in unreasonable will.

  7. I really believe Googlorola is behind all the MMI FRAN patent negotiations way else would they demand all of Apples patents for cross-licensing and that MMI can’t enter into any contracts without Googlorola’s approval. I just wondering if this is a MMI setup for Googlorola. How much does MMI get if the deal doesn’t go through.

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