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Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. Google Inc (GOOG): The EU Takes a Side

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) have not done direct legal battle with each other, but the many proxy fights that have gone one have made it abundantly clear that the two companies don’t like each other and they just can’t stand to be in the same smartphone competition, so they try to stonewall each other and throw obstacles in the way so the competition isn’t exactly fair.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) to be Added to Several WisdomTree ETFsThe fight over patents and licensing is becoming a tech industry all its own, what with all of the attention, headlines and resources that are being poured into courtrooms around the world. Companies are fighting tooth-and-nail for their intellectual property rights, and Apple and Google are no exception.

Image: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

In an ongoing patent battle between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary Motorola Mobility,the European Union has decided to step in and take a side. The EU has already plastered a target on the back of Google over its European market domination in some areas – most notably, Google Search – and the EU’s competition commissioner continues to investigate Google for other anti-trust complaint that have been aimed at Mountain View.

The latest development here involves a patent-infringement case, where Motorola Mobility has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban U.S. imports of iPhones based on the infringement of a patent that provides for smartphone touchscreens to sense when a user is holding the phone to the ear to talk and disabling the touchscreen so it does not register finger touches.

The EU claims that Motorola Mobility is taking liberties with its intellectual-property power to the detriment of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other companies – that its patent should be licensed based on reasonable FRAND standards, that that Motorola Mobility was “abusing” its power. In its brief supporting Apple, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia wrote that “while recourse to injunctions is a possible remedy for patent infringements, such conduct may be abusive where standard-essential patents (SEPs) are concerned and the potential licensee is willing to enter into a licence on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms.”

In addition, the EU wrote that in its own investigation that Motorola Mobility was doing what “amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU anti-trust rules.”

Just recently, the ITC threw out a claim against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) brought by Motorola Mobility, while a German court invalidated an Apple “slide to unlock” patent that was challenged by Samsung and Motorola Mobility. This saga will likely continue. What are your thoughts about this ongoing battle between Apple and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)? Do you see a winner coming out of this at the end of the day? Will there ever be an “end” to this legal wrangling? How do you see these battles affecting these companies, and others, in the smartphone competition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.