European Union regulators have ruled that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary Motorola Mobility abused its patents in an attempt to see Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products banned. The report leads to speculation that the European Union might use the ruling to push for sanctions against Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (NYSE:MMI), and possibly Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) itself. The news was originally reported by the New York Times today.
In a preliminary ruling from the European Commission, it was asserted that Motorola’s use of certain patents to push a ban on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products constituted an abuse of its domination of patents in the wireless communication field.
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The ruling is part of a wide ranging inquiry by the European Commission that is designed to prevent companies with large patent portfolios from blocking other firm’s attempts in the market place. The finding against Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc (NYSE:MMI) could be used in an anti trust case over the use of patents at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).
This case centers on the attempt by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary Motorola to block the sale of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products in Germany. In support of the embargo, Motorola used what is called a standard essential patent. Those patents are supposed to be licensed without restriction in order to ensure the competitiveness of a market.
According to Joaquín Almunia “I think that 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.” Alumunia is the European Union’s competitiveness commissioner.
There is no guarantee that this ruling will lead to a binding case against the search giant, but it might be a cause for worry at Mountain View. A broad antitrust case against the company in the European Union could lead to serious problems in its business going forward.
On today’s market, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares broke $850 for the first time. The company’s shares rose by more than 1.85 percent on today’s trading and have increased by more than 20 percent so far in 2013. There is a great deal of optimism around the company’s stock, but regulatory movements by regulators, on either side of the Atlantic, could depress growth in the company’s stock price.