As Apple, Google, Microsoft and others continue to vie for supremacy in the mobile device market, it has become clear the intellectual assets will play a central role in the future of the industry. With Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility still navigating the final hurdles before approval, competitors have suggested that the search engine giant could gain an unfair advantage from its strategy of licensing intellectual property obtained in the deal.
According to PCWorld, Google hopes to retain the ability to block the sale of goods that potentially infringe upon standard essential patent licensing agreements until matters of litigation are resolved, thus shifting the burden of proof to licensees. Microsoft and others contend that such moves would degrade the quality of consumer offerings and inhibit industry competition through the threat of injunction.
In a letter to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Google deputy general counsel Allen Lo stated that the company "appreciates the IEEE's important role in industry standard setting" and would honor commitments made by Motorola Mobility and continue licensing the standard essential patents in its possession and collecting associated royalties.
Such patents have already been used to ban the sale of Apple mobile devices in Germany, according to PCWorld, and similar injunctions could become a staple of Google's intellectual property strategy. With that in mind, Apple is also pushing for a reevaluation of the pricing terms associated with standard essential patent licenses.