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EU rules Google's Motorola abused patents in seeking injunction against Apple

In a preliminary ruling, the European Commission has determined that Google's Motorola Mobility abused its dominance in mobile patents when it sought an injunction against Apple's iPhone in Germany.

The EU's ruling made on Monday could set the stage for antitrust charges to be filed against Google, according to The New York Times. Motorola had initially sought a legal injunction against Apple's iPhone over a standard-essential patent related to GSM technology.

Motorola had initially committed the patent to be subject to Fair, Reasonable and Non-Descriminatory licensing, or FRAND. That means the company must offer a licensing agreement to competitors asking for it.

Because of that, Apple argued that Motorola's injunction efforts were illegally leveraging patents the company was obligated to license. The heated matter even prompted mobile rival Microsoft to join the fray with Apple against Motorola.

On Monday, the European Union's executive body declared Motorola's injunction was "an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by E.U. antitrust rules." Google officially acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion a year ago.

"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," Joaquin Almunia, the E.U. competition commissioner, said in a statement on the matter on Monday.