All your Motorola Androids are belong to us

Yesterday Microsoft announced they have filed a lawsuit against Motorola alleging infringement on nine patents regarding Android smart phones:

REDMOND, Wash. – Oct. 1, 2010 – Microsoft Corp. today filed a patent infringement action against Motorola, Inc. and issued the following statement from Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing:

“Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.

We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year in bringing innovative software products and services to market. Motorola needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its Android smartphones.”

More information can be found here. Even though I work for Microsoft on Windows Phone 7 I don’t have any further information on the topic and even if I did I wouldn’t be at liberty to discuss it.

5 thoughts on “All your Motorola Androids are belong to us

  1. That’s odd. Why would MS sue Moto over Android since it’s a Google product? Sounds like they think Moto is the weaker target. If they win there, then they might use that decision as leverage against Google.

  2. Sounds like a Hail Mary to me. It really stinks of desperation. Sorry, Joe, and it’s no comment on the quality of the product, but after the way MS has played hardball with PC makers for years, do really think the smart phone makers and the carriers are going to go down into that quagmire themselves when they already have an OS that they can do whatever they want with that already has huge market share?

  3. This isn’t about technology, it’s about how broken our Patent laws are.

    Android is Linux based, but it sounds like Motorola added functionality that might possibly infringe on Microsoft patents. Microsoft already gets royalties from HTC from a similar lawsuit. It is likely Motorola will simply pay royalties to Microsoft to avoid the drama RIM had with NTP.

    The problem with Linux is that there really is no one entity to sue. Suing “open source” companies may put one company out of business, but you can’t stop the signal. Much easier and more profitable to sue hardware manufacturers who use Linux.

  4. I don’t have any further information on the topic and even if I did I wouldn’t be at liberty to discuss it.

    So what’s your general position on software patents?

  5. This isn’t about technology, it’s about how broken our Patent laws are.

    No kidding. According to a couple of the articles in the linked Google search, at least one of the patents MS is suing over is one that Google already paid MS for the rights to use in the Android OS. Supposedly that licensing doesn’t extend to OEMs who buy licenses to make and sell devices with Android, so MS gets to double-dip by charging both Google and every OEM that uses Android.

    So, a) our patent laws are broken, and b) Google’s patent lawyers screwed up the licensing contracts for those items by not ensuring that it extended to OEMs.

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