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The Courts Google Microsoft Patents

Jury Finds Google Guilty of Standards-Essential Patents Abuse Against MS 278

Posted by timothy
from the within-a-framework-of-law dept.
recoiledsnake writes "A federal jury in Seattle ordered Google to pay Microsoft $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract for failing to license at reasonable terms standard essential patents covering wireless and video technology used in the Xbox game console. Motorola had demanded Microsoft pay annual royalties of up to $4 billion for use of patents that are part of the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards, which are baked into Windows and the Xbox video game console. Microsoft said it was willing to pay royalties but not at the 2.25 percent of the product price that Motorola sought. We previously covered Motorola's exorbitant demands."
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Jury Finds Google Guilty of Standards-Essential Patents Abuse Against MS

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 05, 2013 @09:38AM (#44764959)

    with some real reporting

    • Your message regarding the groklaw has been logged. Someone will be in touch if more information is required.
  • In other words, one giant evil corporation misused a broken system to extort money from another giant evil corporation. USA! USA!

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @09:56AM (#44765151) Homepage

      In other words, one giant evil corporation misused a broken system to extort money from another giant evil corporation. USA! USA!

      And we all lose.

      Microsoft makes money off Android, for what I suspect is patents they've never disclosed. Google was trying to make money from Microsoft.

      In the end, we all pay more, and the market is locked up by large incumbents who won't let anybody else play in the sandbox.

      If the intent of the patent system was to 'foster innovation', we're not seeing that actually happen.

  • I thought MS was making a killing off of Android sales because of their licensing deals. It would be pretty simple for MS to just say, "I have altered the deal, pray I don't alter it any further."

  • "Microsoft has also fought numerous legal battles against private companies. The most prominent ones are against:
    - Alcatel-Lucent, which won US$1.52 billion in a lawsuit which alleged that Microsoft had infringed its patents on playback of audio files. This ruling was overturned in a higher court.
    - Apple Inc. (known as Apple Computer, Inc. at the time), which accused Microsoft in the late 1980s of copying the "look and feel" of the graphical user interface of Apple's operating systems. The courts ruled in
  • The moral of the story is to never license your patents as FRAND. Or, you know, fix the patent system.
    • I am sure a loaded gun was not held at the head of Motorola to participitate in the various Standards Bodies. Large corps such as Motorola/Google, MS, Apple, Sony, Sansung etc participate in these standards and want their IP included is to direct and leverage to develop products earlier than their competitors, and somethings that would interoperate with other (competing) products.

      Rules are very simple, you disclose the IP you hold in the area, agree to RAND if you participate in creating the standards.

      • by Joehonkie (665142)
        And I'm sure at the time they didn't realize that there would be a global patent war, either.
    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Licensing your patents under FRAND terms has more to do with what your innovation covers, in this case something that becomes adopted as a standard. These allow the fair use of the standard by competitors and drive the adoption of the standards and hence a monopoly. In this case it was about H.264 and 802.11 standards that that Microsoft was using that were patented by Motorola. What's not mentioned in this case is what other technology players are paying Motorola for use of the same patents. There's an

      • Of course, you know that by quoting florian and the fosspatents FUD site you've just outed yourself as misinformed and completely ignorant of what had been discussed on patents in the last few years?
        • Of course, you do realize that by admitting that you refuse to read opposing sides, that you are in fact, biased and uninformed, while the person you referred to actually isn't, unless you can prove that is the only site he reads, and then only if you can prove that article is in fact biased. All of which you have failed to do.

          • Please, if you haven't followed the previous patent stories here, just google florian mueller. That guy has already admitted being on the payroll of both Oracle and Microsoft. He was debunked several times by Groklaw - here is one of them - http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120419070127103 [groklaw.net]. His "articles" have as much value as microsoft PR.

            Reading (and worst, quoting) his drivel isn't reading "opposing sides", as you state. It is reading and giving support to what is basically paid PR from Microsof

    • The moral of the story is to never license your patents as FRAND. Or, you know, fix the patent system.

      A few years ago, a group working on the next html standards got a message from Apple, with Apple saying that they owned a patent that they believed would be infringed by the standard. There was a huge uproar against Apple back then for daring to own this patent.

      Four things could have happened reasonably: 1. The planned standard gets changed. 2. The feature gets changed not to infringe the patent. 3. Apple is convinced by the working group that their patent isn't infringed. 4. Apple is convinced by the wo

  • by Brandano (1192819) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @09:46AM (#44765051)
    As far as I know thins is the sequence of the events: Microsoft asked Motorola for a quote on a licence for the patents in object. Motorola quoted a 2.25% licensing fee on the product price. Microsoft sued motorola. Now, generally here someone acting in good faith would at least first complain that the fee is too much, and ask for a renegotiation. Microsoft just sued, as if this was their intention right from the start. (IIRC at this point Motorola countersued in Germany and won a temporary injunction on sales, that was overruled by an US judge. Apparently the US justice system overrules the european courts, but that's nothing new, I guess.)
    • by PantherX (23953)

      And it is worth noting that this was Motorola, not Google. This lawsuit was in full swing when Google bought Motorola Mobility, so Google really just ends up paying the bill, even though they weren't involved initially. The article here is misleading, the CNET article that it links to is not.

      • While factually correct, considering how soon after the lawsuit happened that that Google made their purchase intentions, you can be certain that at the point the talks of a buyout were already happening. If you think Google didn't have a large influence on Motorola at that point you are kidding yourself.

    • Not sure of the European situation but in the UK if you attempted to sue without some level of negotiation first your case would be thrown out as vexatious.

      Conversely if you sue someone on the basis they have ignored multiple reasonable proposals out of court the court will favour you heavily.

      • Not sure of the European situation but in the UK if you attempted to sue without some level of negotiation first your case would be thrown out as vexatious.

        On the other hand, in Europe Samsung has been threatened with major fines if they didn't stop trying to get money for FRAND patents.

        • by zieroh (307208)

          On the other hand, in Europe Samsung has been threatened with major fines if they didn't stop trying to get money for FRAND patents.

          Which is absolutely the correct response by the European courts. Samsung was playing dirty pool with their FRAND patents.

    • (IIRC at this point Motorola countersued in Germany and won a temporary injunction on sales, that was overruled by an US judge. Apparently the US justice system overrules the european courts, but that's nothing new, I guess.)

      It's not that the US court overrules the European courts, but rather that the order of suits means that the first one gets resolved first. If I sue you for breach of contract in Massachusetts, you can't run to California and quickly file suit against me for the same transaction (well, you can, but it will be immediately dismissed and/or transferred to the Massachusetts trial). That sort of forum-shopping by a defendant simply isn't allowed, in the interest of having trials come to actual conclusions.

      So, in

  • pot, kettle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ubi_NL (313657) <joris@@@ideeel...nl> on Thursday September 05, 2013 @09:46AM (#44765053) Journal

    in the mean time microsoft has no issue charging a similar percentage to android manufacturers

    http://bgr.com/2013/05/01/microsofts-android-licensing-agreements-earnings/ [bgr.com]

    • Uh, nobody has any idea what MSFT charges android mfgrs. Everything in that article is just a guess.

    • And the difference is that the Motorola patents are part of a standard, and part of being included in that standard is that they agree to license under FAIR and REASONABLE terms. The amount they asked for was not fair, nor reasonable even by **Motorola's own admission**.

      On the other hand, the patents involved between MS and android are not part of any standard. Microsoft did not agree to license them under FRAND terms. Android makers can make phones that adhere to all the standards they do now, but they

  • by idunham (2852899) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @09:52AM (#44765105)

    Motorola requested royalties up to $4 billion, sure.
    But "demanded" does not reflect that this was their initial offer.
    Standard practice for licensing is
    1-owner offers to license for $x
    2-potential licensee offers to pay $y
    3-owner lowers price
    4-potential licensee raises offer
    5-haggle over what is covered and what it's worth
    The impression given is that this was after step 5.
    It actually was after step 1; Microsoft sued before they made a counter-offer.

    • Got any proof of that? Several people in these comments have claimed that MS never made a counter offer, so please back that up - reading the court documents gives a whole different impression on the negotiations in that regard...

    • You have no idea what business transactions were made between MS and Motorola leading up to this case.

      I will agree these companies are embroiled in a patent war and so are not playing fairly or favourable with each other, but to call something misleading or false and then have no fucking idea what actually went on is the problem with Slashdot today. Are you a patent lawyer, have you even set up a licensing agreement? Setting them up is usually a little more complicated than negotiating the price of used c

  • Missing Groklaw (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martyros (588782) on Thursday September 05, 2013 @09:52AM (#44765119)
    I really miss Groklaw's coverage and analysis of this whole thing.
  • ... the $14 million is what Motorola owed for the money lost per XBox ;-)

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