Microsoft sues Motorola [Updated]

Microsoft has announced today that it is suing Motorola, citing that the mobile phone maker is infringing nine of Microsoft's patents on its Android devices. The patents referred to cover such things as email, calendar, contact syncing and the technology used to notify applications of the devices signal strength and battery charge.

The allegations have been filed with both the U.S. District Court in Washington and the International Trade Commission (ITC).

Below is the Press Release Microsoft have issued.

Microsoft Files Patent Infringement Action Against Motorola

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."

The allegations appear to be a direct attack at Google's Android operating system which Microsoft claimed earlier this year was infringing on some of its own patents. This case comes just weeks before Microsoft is expected to release its own, new mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7.

Update: Microsoft have just published an article explaining why they believe they are right to sue Motorola. In the article they discuss that smartphones need to be able to sync such things as emails and contacts which is why "Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, a proprietary technology" was developed by the company. The article also mentions how with the plethora of apps now available on mobile devices the operating system needs to notify these apps about the battery and signal of the device. Microsoft believes that both of the ways in which these technologies are implemented on Motorola's Android device infringe its own patents.

Microsoft conclude the article saying that "[their] action today merely seeks to ensure respect for our intellectual property rights infringed by Android devices; and judging by the recent actions by Apple and Oracle, [they] are not alone in this respect." It seems as though several of the major companies in the tech world have issues with Google's Android operating system and its technologies; this appears to be an increasing trend.

Google offer no protection to licensees of its software whereas Microsoft provides full patent protection to its partners and licensees and will support those companies in many ways.

This is a breaking story and more may follow shortly.

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