EU Dings Google's Motorola Mobility Unit For Patent Abuse

from the still-doesn't-make-any-sense dept

We're still confused as to why Google has continued to have Motorola Mobility play the role of a patent bully ever since they bought it. Over a year ago, we suggested that Google could make a real statement on patents by stopping its aggressive patent licensing program via Motorola. After all, Google bought Motorola Mobility just a few weeks after the company appeared to be taking a strong stance against patent bullying. Ever since, it has seemed rather hypocritical for Motorola Mobility to have kept on being a patent bully.

And it seems to be backfiring all over the place. It was the one real area that Google got in trouble over with the FTC's antitrust investigation. And, the patent legal fight with Microsoft hasn't gone well for Motorola Mobility either. And, now, the latest bit of news is that the EU is coming down on Motorola Mobility for seeking an injunction over standard-essential patents as well.

Honestly, this whole thing has left me really confused. The patent aggression hasn't worked out at all for Google, is leaving them wide open to fines and complaints from various powerful government bodies, isn't doing much in the courts and (most importantly) is leaving the company itself wide open to charges of hypocrisy. Why not just do the right thing -- the same thing that Google itself has done in the past, and which it has spoken out about on numerous occasions: stop being a patent bully. It makes no sense that they company has continued down this path.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, May 7th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    You gotta feel a little sorry for Google?

    Google sat back and watched MS and Apple play the patent card to the point that MS made more money off Android than Google did. So they buy Motorola to be able to fight back only to find out that it doesn't work for them. Something doesn't seem too fair here, does it?

     

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  2.  
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    Gleason McAllister, May 7th, 2013 @ 4:14am

    Class!

    It's about time that Google started to ramp up a hard-ball strategy against any and all other tech firms. Google has the cash and the goods, and as it snaps up other providers to grow its patent portfolio, it can readily capture the majority of its market - leading to more profits and higher stock prices! Then they can sell more shares at a higher price - which means more cash for the Goog!

     

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  3.  
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    The Real Michael, May 7th, 2013 @ 4:37am

    Why act surprised? When did Google become the good samaritan? They're a multi-billion dollar company looking to expand their profits and influence. Ethics do not come into the equation.

     

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  4.  
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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), May 7th, 2013 @ 4:46am

    "Don't be evil."

    Great in theory, but proven, once again, poor in practice.

    I don't feel sorry for any company that uses patents as a weapon.

    Sure, Google got hit by them, but their response, rather than buying off governments like their competitors do, was to "fight fire with fire".

    Let them all burn.

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, May 7th, 2013 @ 5:33am

    "Honestly, this whole thing has left me really confused. "

    Add that to Mike's boilerplate text. It's just amazing that he goes along admitting to being dazed and confused and can't see the general truth that corporations are liars from the word "go" -- as in Google!

    "Don't be evil" was just a lie to get the evil going.



    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Some of Mike's typical boilerplate text: "Honestly, this whole thing has left me really confused."
    01:33:15[L-090-6]

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2013 @ 5:37am

    Re:

    oh, Google is lobbying a lot more than most other companies. Their problem is that the politicians they are able to buy are plummeting because of their lack in other areas.

     

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  7.  
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    Designerfx (profile), May 7th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    the whole situation is questionable

    Motorola asked apple to take a license. apple turned around and sued and requested an EU investigation, while suing in like 5 different places. this is the result. Many of those have been shut down.

    How is that exactly motorola going after folks?

    I don't know if they were even seeking licenses as much as that if they don't request that someone licenses what they're using they have no redress. Kinda more a patent law issue and less a patents themselves issue.

    The fallout from this to SEP patents is also a big deal, so unless we finally stop allowing software patents this will basically stop royalty pools, licensing pools. Why contribute to an actual de-facto standard with your research if you can't even be compensated, I believe was the argument I heard frequently.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    Re:

    Here is the thing: way back, google's slogan used to be "don't be evil". Then, they went on to have their IPO, and now they are pressured to follow the same paths that the other companies in the market follow.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re:

    Google has NEVER officially used the "don't be evil" slogan or ever considered it a form of policy.

    It was not intended as a slogan and was not used for it either.

    As for getting patents to fight other patents bullshit, I can understand why people like Mick the nick to want you to believe by having some patents in your cupboard you can fight patent litigation against you.

    If Masnick knew anything at all about litigation, laws or patents he would know it simply does not work that way.

    I am not holding my breath waiting for Masnick to inform himself, he simply does not want to know, or wants to make you think he has a clue about what's going on.

    He does not.

    Anyone who relies on Masnick to think for them is in real trouble, and must be desperate.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    We're still confused as to why by 'we're' I assume you actually mean "I AM", and you don't have to tell us that Mick the Nick, we all know you are confused regarding these issues.

    You're confusion is born from ignorance, or stupidity, or a little of both.

     

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  11.  
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    Jay Fude (profile), May 7th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Hire

    Perhaps Google should not have hired Prenda Law as its lawyers. How is it that a troll can win these types of cases without ever doing anything useful, and they don't get slapped down, but a practicing entity can't?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Re:

    Alright...so I've been gone from Techdirt for a bit (rough semester), but can someone explain the "Mick the Nick" moniker to me? I get that it's referring to Mike, but is that it? Just that his name is Mike, so that's like Mick, and the end of his last name is Masnick, so shorten that?

    Wouldn't it be "Mick the 'nick" then, no capitalization? For the life of me I thought we were talking about an Irish guy named Nick. Is Mike Irish? Are we going back to the great old derogatory term Mick? I mean, I'm cool with that, just looking for a bit of an explanation.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    AC Unknown, May 7th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re:

    It's an ad-hom the trolls use. Just report anyone who uses that nickname.

     

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  14.  
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    DCX2, May 7th, 2013 @ 10:00am

    Re: the whole situation is questionable

    Exactly this.

    Motorola isn't "going after" people. Motorola tried to negotiate with Apple and MS, and instead of negotiating like every other vendor, Apple and MS ran to the court system to cry foul.

    All this trouble for Motorola is a very bad thing. Technology companies that contribute to standards are sitting up and taking notice that contributing to a standard will allow your competitors to take your R&D efforts without compensating you at all. Consumers will be harmed if companies do not contribute to standards.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    MS and Apple sue Motorola and that means Motorola is bullying them. Even if they did it would be difficult to see a pair of 500 lb gorillas going at it and think 'well that's clearly bullying.' Bullying is when big guys pick on little guys, not when big guys fight other big guys.

     

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  16.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 7th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re:

    Simply by asking that question, you have put far more thought into the term than they ever had, as I'm sure one of them thought(and I use that term loosely) it up, figured it sounded good, and then the lot of them just started parroting it.

     

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  17.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 7th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Free culture versus wealth culture

    While making everything free and accessible underlies the goal of P2P, shareable, commons, and other similar cultures, Silicon Valley and the lifestyle that has gone along with it is very much one of great wealth.

    Therefore it isn't all that surprising to see corporations there and those who run them adopt some of the same values as the wealthy from previous generations.

    Once a company goes public and is accountable to Wall Street, I don't think you're likely to see it become a revolutionary force.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Coyne, May 7th, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Google is new money

    It's like the good-ole boy's club: Google is new money; companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Disney are old money. Old money always gets special treatment, even in the courts and bureaucracy.

     

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