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Microsoft to sue Google in German patent row

Date
Microsoft has added Google to its patent fight against Motorola in Germany. Photo: Bloomberg

Microsoft has added Google to its patent fight against Motorola in Germany. Photo: Bloomberg

Microsoft said on Friday it plans to add Google as a defendant in Germany in one of its patent actions against Google's phone maker, Motorola Mobility, the first time the two tech giants have come into direct legal conflict over Google's Android mobile software.

Microsoft contends that Google's Android infringes its software patents but so far has pursued handset makers rather than Google itself for payment of royalties.

Many hardware companies have settled with Microsoft over their use of Android, but Motorola - which Google bought this year - is fighting a range of patent issues with Microsoft in courts in the United States and Germany.

In the latest move, Microsoft said in a court in Munich that it plans to add Google as a defendant in a case in which it claims a mapping feature on Motorola phones infringes one of its patents.

"It became necessary to add Google to this particular case because Motorola maintains that it lacks sufficient information about actions occurring on Google's servers," said a Microsoft spokesperson in an emailed statement on Friday.

Google signaled it would defend itself.

"We want to focus on innovation, not litigation, but we'll vigorously defend against any amended complaint Microsoft files," Google's deputy general counsel Allen Lo said in an emailed statement.

The patent in question defines a method for a mobile device to obtain a map from one database, call up resource information such as the location of a hotel from a second database, and overlay the two sets of data.

Motorola and Microsoft are engaged in separate patent disputes in courts in Mannheim, Germany, and Seattle over Motorola's use of scheduling software and Microsoft's use of some video and wireless technology.

Reuters

13 comments so far

  • This just shows the farce of the US patent system. Software is generally not patentable in Europe, much to the annoyance of the US.

    The patent being argued over here is not innovative, could have been thought of by anyone and should never have been patented by anyone.

    I guess it all hangs on when Microsoft's patent was filed and whether Google can demonstrate 'prior art'.

    Commenter
    Graham
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    October 15, 2012, 12:49PM
    • Um.. this is in Germany, not the US...

      Commenter
      Crispy
      Date and time
      October 15, 2012, 1:47PM
    • It does not matter about the Prior Art, It is the Money that really matter in the patent system. The money that you can use to hire I.P. Attorney, Lawyer or anybody else to protect or to defend from any litigation.

      Commenter
      FHerry
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 15, 2012, 8:48PM
    • It is patentable, just as it is here. However, whether it will stand up in court is another question. Cases like this in Europe & the UK have led to patents being cancelled, so Microsoft may lose an opportunity to gain licensing revenue rather than win any judgement. In this case, it's obviously a risk they think it's worth taking.

      Interestingly, just a few days ago the UN bought together all these tech companies and patent officers in Geneva to try and come to some neutrality over all these innovation-killing actions they using the patent system for. Clearly not something Microsoft is that interested in. Microsoft make more out of their Android 'licensing' schemes than they do out of sales of their own mobile platform.

      Commenter
      Ace
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 15, 2012, 11:44PM
    • Patent system that stays in the way of progress and innovation shall be changed.

      Consumers shall boycott products of the companies who stand on the way of delivering better and cheaper technology to users. This is easy to do with Windows Mobile -expensive featureless system which is inferior to Android.

      Commenter
      dinkumnet
      Location
      dinkumnet.com
      Date and time
      October 16, 2012, 8:36AM
  • That anybody could patent something as basic as overlaying data from two databases anywhere is absolutely crazy.

    Commenter
    Ken
    Location
    Geelong
    Date and time
    October 15, 2012, 2:47PM
    • I think I'm going to patent a method of collecting a piece of data from one input method (like a screen tap), and then collecting data from another method, which could be the same as the first method. Look out anyone whose software relies on tapping the screen more than once.

      On a more serious not, how ridiculous is this innovation by litigation becoming? When will it end?

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      October 16, 2012, 12:29AM
  • I dont understand why this should be protected. Anybody in their right mind could think to take information from two different locations and end up with a combined output. I think most children could come up with this concept once they are give their first research assignment.

    Commenter
    Andy
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    October 15, 2012, 4:18PM
    • Read from two databases and overlay the data! Wow! Someone should get a Nobel prize for that!

      Commenter
      MarkS
      Location
      Dandenong
      Date and time
      October 15, 2012, 7:19PM
      • My toddler drew a picture of a dog with a red crayon at kindy. Then she put some glitter on top. I am pretty sure this process involved some kind of glue.

        I am thinking to patent the method by which she was able to overlay the glitter on top of the crayon. If any other toddlers infringe on my patent I am going to bust their chops hard.

        Commenter
        Bab
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        October 16, 2012, 10:45AM

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