Apple has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Motorola Mobility's use of standards-essential patents in lawsuits with the fruity firm.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late on Friday, Motorola said that it had received a letter from the EC informing it of the complaint from Apple earlier that day.
"On February 17, 2012, the company received a letter from the European Commission, Competition Directorate-General, notifying it that the Commission has received a complaint against Motorola Mobility, Inc. by Apple, Inc. regarding the enforcement of MMI’s standards-essential patents against Apple allegedly in breach of MMI’s FRAND commitments," the company's filing said.
"Apple’s complaint seeks the Commission’s intervention with respect to standards-essential patents."
The commission confirmed to The Register today that it had received Apple's complaint and that it was examining it.
Motorola told El Reg that it had "a long-standing practice of licensing our patents under FRAND and we offered those to Apple".
The EC has already launched a formal investigation of Korean company Samsung over its use of standards-essential patents in courtroom battles with Apple. These patents are supposed to be available to all on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.
Just last week, both the EC and the US Department of Justice approved Google's slurp of Motorola Mobility, while pointing out that they were concerned about how the web giant would use the phone-maker's patents when the deal was done.
In clearing the deal, the competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that "the transaction does not itself raise competition issues". But he added that the commission would be keeping a close eye on the sector, "particularly the increasingly strategic use of patents".
The DoJ's Antitrust Division said in its approval statement that it would "not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action to stop any anticompetitive use of standard-essential patents rights".
Apple and Google told El Reg they had no comment to make. ®