Microsoft Drags Google Into Motorola Patent Case In Germany

October 16, 2012 0

Munich, Germany — Trouble is brewing for Google-owned Motorola Mobility. The Redmond Vole has been waging war in a German courtroom against Motorola Mobility, over the weekend confirmed that it will expand an infringement case against none other than Google, the smartphone maker’s parent company for an ongoing patent case against Motorola in Germany.

The news was first reported by patent blogger Florian Mueller, who was attending a hearing yesterday in the Munich I Regional Court, Microsoft’s lead counsel, told the court that the software giant will amend an earlier lawsuit against Motorola to include Google, marking the first time the two technology giants have gone after each other in a patent infringement case.

However, according to Mueller, Motorola denied any violation on a Microsoft patent with the Android Google Maps app found on its devices, but did not specify how Google’s server infrastructure works, prompting Microsoft to add Google to the case.

“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,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. “We continue to hope Motorola will join the vast majority of Android device makers by licensing Microsoft’s patented inventions.”

According to IT World reports quoting an emailed statement received from a spokesperson of the court says that the Google Maps app accessible on Motorola phones allegedly infringes upon a mapping patent. A hearing is now scheduled for Thursday at the regional court of Munich.

Motorola Mobility sued over a mapping patent… Image Credit: (Tech2.in.com)

The lawsuit in play was filed by Microsoft in April 2012 and relates to Android’s Google Maps app. Microsoft has maintained that some Motorola Mobility products violate a patent “that describes a method of obtaining the map from one database, resource information such as Starbucks locations from a second database, and overlaying the two sets of data”.

Elaborating on the case, Microsoft argues that this technique, which was developed by Google and found in Motorola handsets, infringes the technology it owns related to “identifying local resources.” Motorola has, of course, denied those claims, saying that its technology is free from any infringement. Microsoft has sued Motorola Mobility and its German subsidiary.

This unfortunate announcement comes as a number of tech firms — including Google, Microsoft, and Motorola — met at the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva this week to discuss the fair and reasonable licensing of patents.

Now that Microsoft wants to pull Google into the mix, several things must happen, according to Mueller. For one, Microsoft wanted to know if Motorola’s German counsel will accept the amendment on behalf of Google or if it will have to be served in the U.S., Mueller said. Hence, depending on the decision on the matter, which would delay the German proceeding, which is set to go to trial on March 7, 2013. Motorola said it would have an answer within two weeks.

However, just recently, a regional court in Mannheim decreed that Motorola Mobility did not violate upon a Microsoft patent that enables applications to work on different handsets. The patent in question allows application developers to avoid writing separate codes for each handset, thereby saving time and development costs.

Eventually, the Redmond Vole won three patent lawsuits against Motorola Mobility in Germany, leading to smartphones with the disputed technology being pulled out of the German market. Motorola declined to comment, but Google’s deputy general counsel, Allen Lo, said in a statement that “we want to focus on innovation, not litigation, but we will strenuously defend against any amended complaint Microsoft files.”