Europe warns Google, Samsung on abusing phone patents

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The European Commission says Motorola Mobility — which Google is selling to China’s Lenovo — has abused its market position in Europe by refusing to grant crucial technology licenses to rival Apple, then suing Apple for infringement.

However, the Commission’s antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, said that he would not levy any fine this time, because European national laws have issued conflicting rulings in patent and licensing suits.

Almunia is seeking to compel smartphone technology giants to license patents on reasonable terms, rather than using them as a tool to stymie competition. He said recent court battles around the world ultimately hinder innovation and harm consumers.

In a related case, Samsung also avoided a fine for denying use of patents to Apple, by agreeing to submit future disagreements to arbitration.

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