Apple, VW ‘warn EU over patent fee guidelines’

Apple, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler have warned EU regulators that adopting patent fee guidelines that favor Qualcomm and Ericsson could hurt consumers and hinder innovation, according to a Reuters report.

The Fair Standards Alliance (FSA), the companies’ lobbying group, voiced their concerns in a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska and others.

Reuters reported that the move comes as the EU executive considers whether a fridge maker should pay a different rate for crucial patents than a carmaker, or whether a flat, fixed rate would be fairer.

Reuters reported that the European Commission draft favors the patent fee model used by Qualcomm and Ericsson, which is based on how much value a technology adds to a product.

It is opposed by Apple, Google and others in Silicon Valley, who favor fixed fees.

“The European Commission risks jeopardizing Europe’s potential to be a world leader in the Internet of Things by supporting a patent licensing system which rewards a few entrenched patent-holding companies at the expense of innovative companies and ultimately consumers,” the FSA said in the letter seen by Reuters.