WASHINGTON Nov 26 U.S. antitrust regulators
approved Robert Bosch GMBH's purchase of SPX Service
Solutions but put conditions on it, including requiring the
company to drop requests for injunctions for companies that
infringe an important class of patents.
The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces antitrust law,
said on Monday it would require Robert Bosch GMBH to sell a
business, including RTI Technologies, that makes equipment to
recharge auto air conditioners and to license key patents needed
to compete. The buyer is Mahle Clevite.
In the absence of the divestiture, the acquisition would
have given Bosch a virtual monopoly on the manufacture of
devices that allow auto repair technicians to remove refrigerant
during repair, store it and replace it in the car, the agency
But the agency also required Bosch to drop a request for
sales bans that SPX had made in lawsuits against companies which
it accused of infringing on standard essential patents, an
important class of patents that ensure interoperability.
Standard essential patents, or SEPs, are expected to be
broadly licensed on fair and reasonable terms, also known as
FRAND. The FTC said that SPX failed to live up to an obligation
to license on those terms.
"Patent holders that seek injunctive relief against willing
licensees of their FRAND-encumbered SEPs should understand that
in appropriate cases the commission can and will challenge this
conduct as an unfair method of competition," the commission said
in a statement.
The commission voted 3-2 to approve the complaint.