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updated: 4/25/2014 11:17 AM

Motorola Mobility said likely to escape EU fine in patent case

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Bloomberg News

Motorola Mobility, which Google Inc. is selling to Lenovo Group Ltd., is likely to escape an antitrust fine when European Union regulators rule next week that it tried to use patents to block sales of Apple Inc. products, two people familiar with the case said.

The European Commission will only order Motorola Mobility to drop legal injunctions over patents that relate to technology that is necessary for industry-standard products such as mobile phones, said the people, who asked not to be named because a final decision hasn't been made. The EU could announce a decision as soon as next week.

Joaquin Almunia, the EU's antitrust chief, told reporters earlier this month that he would decide on the Motorola Mobility case and finalize a settlement with Samsung Electronics Co. by the end of April. He said in February that he planned a "prohibition decision" for Motorola Mobility that would find the company violated antitrust rules.

The EU is cracking down on patent abuses as Motorola Mobility, Microsoft Corp., Apple and Samsung trade victories in courts across the world on intellectual property. Almunia has said he's targeting "rules of the game" to prevent companies from unfairly leveraging their inventions to thwart rivals.

Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for the European Commission in Brussels, declined to comment on any fine for Motorola Mobility. Katie Dove, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Motorola Mobility, declined to comment.

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