The biggest difference between Apple and Android OEMs in the patent wars are the patents asserted by the parties against each other. The Android crowd has no problem seeking injunctions using patents that are pledged to be negotiated under fair, reasonable and non-discrinatory (FRAND) terms, while Apple has said publicly that it will do no such thing. Both Samsung and Motorola Mobility are using FRAND patents in their defense after being called to the carpet by Apple. After some murmurs of discontent, the Federal Trade Commission is now stepping in to see what’s going on – at least between MMI and Apple. That’s right kids: thanks to their $12.5 billion newborn, Google is going to get another visit from their friends at the FTC.
MMI has been begging for government intervention for at least the last year. Its FRAND abuse against Microsoft is well-documented, as they’ve been leveraging their FRAND arsenal in an attempt to get XBox 360s banned from sale. Their 2.25% ask for every unit sold – a total Microsoft estimated at over $4 billion – got MMI laughed away from the negotiating table. Recently, MMI’s IP counsel got cute with the press, claiming the company never asked for anything like that. Too bad a damage calculation entered 2 years earlier – by the same person – asked for exactly that. On the Apple side, MMI has asserted 4 such patents in their defense of Apple’s “thermonuclear assault” on Android OEMs.
Google should be on a first name basis with the FTC staff by now; they’re already in the midst of a broad antitrust investigation into whether Google’s jiggering of search-results rankings constitute anti-competitive behavior. How do they feel about the FTC’s second pending action?
“We take our commitments to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms very seriously and are happy to answer any questions,” Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, said. I guess the second part of the quote got lopped off – the one that said “But we don’t know what these Motorola assholes are thinking.”
Hey Google: you own MMI now. You may not want to take responsibility for their bullshit, but rest assured, you will.