Google accuses Microsoft and Nokia of feeding patent trolls
Google has apparently filed a complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft and Nokia for their patent management practices which limit competition.
Intellectual property has been a very sensitive subject with mobile manufacturers and platform developers over the last few quarters, with it being demonstrated that patents can be effectively used as an economic weapon which can limit competition and generate royalty payments from competing platforms.
Microsoft is a champion when it comes to hunting Android manufacturers, demanding licensing rights through threats that allow them to generate revenue from the strong growth being seen with the competing Android OS.
While some proposals are accepted, others aren’t. Google has now filed a complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft and Nokia – accusing them of limiting competition through unfair practices.
Google is not happy with the transfer of thousands of patents to the Mosaid patent farm, with this company being qualified as a patent troll that will sue any company to obtain royalty payments for copyright infractions.
Mosaid then becomes the bad guy in such affairs, rather than Microsoft and Nokia, but Google believes that "Nokia and Microsoft are working together to increase devices costs for the consumer, creating patent trolls which don’t play by the same rules (of not using patents in an offensive nature) as promised by the two companies".
Microsoft: takes one to know one
The suit filed with the European Commission isn’t without basis as the commission has stated that they are very aware of this practice and will sanction any companies that use their patents in such a way. While Nokia is yet to comment on Google’s suit, Microsoft has fired back.
Microsoft states that this is a "desperate tactic" by their competitor that is hardly credible since they "control more than 95% of the mobile search and advertising market." They have also attacked Google ambiguous position on FRAND patents (Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory): "Google complains about patents, but at the same time they refuse to answer regulators questions about their position on patent standards".
Europe’s approval that Google can precede with their acquisition of Motorola Mobility was given on the basis that they wouldn’t use FRAND patents against other manufacturers, notably Apple. While Apple, along with Microsoft, guaranteed that patents used in mobile standards wouldn’t be used in legal battles, Google has refused to provide a clear position. Motorola Mobility has since become the object of a European investigation on this point.
Florian Müller, from the FOSS Patents blog, notes that Google’s accusation has already been received by the ITC in the United States, but it was deemed an invalid request and dismissed before being heard.
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