Google’s bid to buy Motorola Mobility has now been approved by US and European authorities. The purchase will provide Google with the 17,000 patents owned by Motorola.
As you are no doubt aware there has been an on-going patent war raging between Apple and various Android manufacturers, so many view Google’s move as a means to assist those companies that use Android on their hardware.
However, Google will now be under close scrutiny from regulators who have warned that it must not use the patents unfairly. In a statement EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said:
This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry. … We might be obliged to open some cases in the future. This is not enough to block the merger but we will be vigilant.
In the same press release that confirmed Google could acquire Motorola, the US Department of Justice also announced clearance for Apple, Microsoft and RIM to purchase the patents of Canadian company Nortel.
There’s a more detailed look at both acquisitions over at Ars Technica, or for even more details check out FOSS PATENTS, where you can also find the full statement from EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia.