Feeds

EC competition chief points troll-hunting guns at Nokia

Withholds fire, for now

Boost IT visibility and business value

The EU is erecting the “troll-free zone” signs around the tech sector, with European Commission competition chief Joaquín Almunia saying the EC will guard against US-style patent trolling.

Speaking to the IP Summit 2013 in Paris, Almunia said the EC approved Microsoft's $US7.2 billion acquisition partly because it did not currently expect Nokia to undergo a troll-metamorphosis.

“Since Nokia will retain its patent portfolio, some have claimed that the sale of the unit would give the company the incentive to extract higher returns from this portfolio”, he told the summit (wire stories, such as this from AP, omit the key words “some have claimed” to cast Almunia's remarks as his own belief that Nokia will go a-trolling).

“These claims fall outside the scope of our review. When we assess a merger, we look into the possible anti-competitive impact of the company resulting from it. We cannot consider what the seller will do,” he continued.

“If Nokia were to take illegal advantage of its patents in the future, we will open an antitrust case – but I sincerely hope we will not have to.”

He added that “the claims we dismissed were that Nokia would be tempted to behave like a patent troll or – to use a more polite phrase – a patent assertion entity” (emphasis added).

While specifically excluding excluding Nokia from the list of current concerns, Almunia did note that “these are organisations whose only commercial activity consists in licensing and enforcing patents”, and that while trolling has been less in evidence in Europe than in the US, the EC will continue its watching brief.

The EC “will hold patent trolls to the same standards as any other patent holder”, Almunia said.

The mis-reporting of Almunia's remarks has already led to snipes from the other side of the Atlantic, with Forbes calling his statements about patent assertion entities “manifestly untrue”. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?
EU reckons we've one foot out the door anyway
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law
Welcome in a New Era ... of copyright litigation
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.