Chicago Business Lawyers Weigh if Motorola’s Gift to City Violates Antitrust Laws

February 06 11:38 2015
This free “test platform” of police radios may end up costing taxpayers millions.

What may seem like a free gift from radio giant Motorola to Chicago’s police force just may end up causing more problems than good. Chicago’s lawyers are eagerly trying to determine if this is just a plan to promote the company’s broadband reputation or if federal grant money has bankrolled biased contract awards to Motorola.

Recently, Motorola donated to the city $1.8 million worth of telecom equipment that could beam data and videos to law enforcement officers shielding the world leaders. “In a letter, Motorola Vice President John Molloy said the company also could operate a network for the city as a ‘test platform’ until year end and provide Chicago’s public safety agencies entrée to the world of emergency broadband LTE – the new global standard for transmitting huge amounts of data at rocket speed,” explained Greg Gordon of the McClatchy Washington Bureau.

In a thriving and competitive tech market, Motorola is striving to remain relevant and profitable with its walkie-talkie franchise and in the broadband market where it must contend with new and bigger competitors. The problem, according to Gordon, is that “the industry giant has landed scores of sole-source radio contracts and wielded enough pricing power to sell its glitzy handsets for as much as $7,000 apiece, at a taxpayer cost of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars that could have been saved in a more competitive market.”

Steve Koman, a former Motorola employee who was a consultant to the city of Charlotte, N.C., when it sought unsuccessfully to build a broadband network a couple of years ago, disapproves of the Motorola gift. He finds such equipment donations by a market kingpin to be troubling because it’s a way to “lock in future relationships and future opportunities.”

However, Motorola’s other concern is that with the ever-improving cell phone technology, law enforcement may be able to use a more durable cell phone that is just as reliable and less expensive than their current products. If and when that happens, Motorola will be obsolete.

With such matters causing conflict in the world of technology and communications, it just reinforces the need for competent business lawyers. Will Chicago business lawyers be able to defend Motorola’s gifts with the argument that companies routinely invite government agencies to join them in testing new products or will its opponents claim that these donations violate the spirit of federal antitrust laws because they appear to be a continuous attempt to corner the market?

While this is just one specific example of the battle for a market in the technology field, this capitalistic struggle concerning contracts and protecting intellectual property is commonplace. Fortunately, any company can protect their business ventures or IP with a reputable intellectual property lawyer such as the ones found on UpCounsel, a group of online business lawyers. Whatever the circumstance, UpCounsel lawyers can create contracts, protect IP, and ensure that a company is in full compliance with the law.

While mega corporations such as IBM and Kodak have become obsolete, it will be interesting to see if Motorola lawyers can defend their business plan of gifting to remain in the spotlight.

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