Motorola Mobility Responds to EU Antitrust Regulators at Hearing

Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility unit will respond to European Union accusations that it used patents to hinder competitors, including Apple Inc.

The European Commission organized a day-long oral hearing on the matter taking place today in Brussels, said Katie Dove, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility.

The EU antitrust regulator in May sent a formal complaint to Motorola Mobility saying it suspects the company, which Google bought last year for $12.4 billion, is abusing its dominant position by “seeking and enforcing” injunctions against Apple in Germany based on its patents that are essential for products to comply with industry technical standards.

The EU opened a formal probe into Motorola Mobility, which makes smartphones that run on Google’s Android software, in April 2012, following complaints by Microsoft Corp. and Apple. They accused Motorola Mobility of seeking injunctions to block their use of patents they said the Google unit had declared essential for the production of standard-compliant products and had promised to license on terms that are “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.”

Antoine Colombani, an EU spokesman, declined to comment, saying that hearings are confidential.

After receiving the commission’s objections, companies can defend themselves in writing or at an oral hearing before the EU’s antitrust authority decides to impose fines.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, offered to settle a similar probe by the EU into its hold on so-called standard-essential patents, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said last week. The EU is reviewing the offer, he said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.