Google patent pact unlikely to solve disputes

Google patent pact unlikely to solve disputes

07 JAN 2013

Google’s settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission to allow competitors to have fair access to standard-essential patents for mobile technology is unlikely to end ongoing legal disputes with Microsoft and Apple, Bloomberg reports.

Microsoft said Google’s agreement with the FTC does little to resolve the dispute between the companies, and that it is still waiting for a decision from a federal judge in Seattle about appropriate royalties it should pay to Google’s Motorola Mobility unit for access to patents.

Motorola initially demanded royalties of 2.25 percent of retail prices of devices using the patents in question, which Microsoft said was equivalent to $4 billion per year. Motorola lowered this offer in June 2012, but Microsoft felt the new offer was still unreasonable.

In a blog post, Microsoft deputy general counsel Dave Heiner criticised the FTC for not seeking industry input on royalties and for failing to secure “an enforceable consent decree”.

“The FTC’s overall resolution of this matter is weak and—frankly—unusual. We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address,” Heiner wrote.

James Kulbaski, a patent lawyer with Oblon Spivak, told Bloomberg that Google’s offer to appease the FTC and European regulators may not be enough to end litigation among the companies.

Robert Stoll of Washington’s Drinker Biddle added that there might be further activity from the FTC if it believes Google is not being as fair as it could be around patent access.

Microsoft and Apple have also accused Motorola of misusing patents, complained to regulators in the US and Europe and filed suits in federal court for breach of contract. Apple told a Wisconsin judge that it won’t pay more than $1 per handset to Motorola.

Motorola also has a case against Microsoft with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) involving video decoding patents. The ITC has already cleared Apple of claims that it was infringing Motorola patents for wireless technology.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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