Regulators Give Nod to Google-Motorola Merger
Author: John Duckgeischel on February 14, 2012 - 7:45 AM
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Regulators in Europe and the U.S. have given their approval of Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Regulators on both side of the Atlantic say they will be watching to make sure Google uses fair pricing to license the large collection of Motorola patents that it will acquire in the deal. Motorola’s 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications helped make it an attractive acquisition target for Google, as the company has battled to protect and defend its patent position in court against Apple and other rivals.   The purchase is Google’s largest and it also moves it significantly into the hardware business for the first time.   The merger is still pending additional government approvals in Israel, Taiwan and China.

The U.S. DOJ also announced approval of a large purchase of patents from bankrupt Nortel Networks.   The patents have been sold to an Apple-led consortium and they will be divided among the companies that have joined the consortium.   Government anti-trust officials are making efforts to prevent price gouging of competitors and ultimately impacting consumers. "This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said to reporters in Brussels. In the U.S. regulators will also continue to monitor Google’s practices regarding its patents. "If Google makes it more difficult for new technologies to emerge, by locking-in existing licensees of the patents so that it becomes not profitable for them to adopt other technologies, that's the kind of thing that might give rise to antitrust scrutiny down the road," said Shubha Ghosh, a professor at University of Wisconsin Law School.

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