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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Motorola Requested 2.25% Patent Licensing Royalty on iPhone Purchases [iOS Blog]

Late last year, Motorola Mobility requested Apple pay a potential royalty of 2.25% on its iPhone sales in recently unsealed litigation from last year. The royalty would amount to more than $1 billion in 2011 alone, though there is no indication which specific iPhone models would be covered by the license nor if it would be retroactive to the initial launch of the iPhone in 2007.

The patents appear to be covered under the FRAND standard, which requires patents to be licensed for "fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms". The 2.25% request that Motorola offered was in response to a demand for a FRAND pricing offer from Apple.
Florian Mueller, writing about the issue, offers some additional insight: I assume this relates to Apple's sales and to all of MMI's standard-essential patents, though the context is only one patent (the one over which Motorola has already forced Apple, temporarily, to remove certain products from its German online store. Assuming in Motorola's favor that this was a license to all standard-essential wireless patents, the amount still appears excessive to me given how many companies hold patents on such standards and what royalty rate this would lead to in the aggregate.
A quote in the Wall Street Journal from the chief executive of the Epicenter IP group, which helps companies license patents, noted that "there is no debate that Motorola was the inventor of the mobile phone" and its patents could be broad and necessary for a phone maker.
This is only one more step in the long and drawn-out patent battle between the two companies, but the licensing rate for patents is typically a closely held competitive secret. The 2.25% rate would be a significant amount of money, given the tremendous sales Apple is generating from its iPhone business.
View the original article here

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