Microsoft is taking its battles with Google to court, at least in Europe. Today, Microsoft announced on its official legal blog site that it has filed a lawsuit to the European Commission against Motorola Mobility and Google. Motorola is in the process of being acquired by Google for $12.5 billion.
The blog post, written by Microsoft vice president Dave Heiner, claims that the company is filing this complaint due to Motorola not offering patents that it holds for watching video on the web on reasonable terms to anyone else who wants to use them. Microsoft claims that Motorola and the other companies that hold patents for these video standards pledged to make them available with fair agreements.
However, Heiner writes:
Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.
Earlier in February, Microsoft made a new pledge not to file a lawsuit or seek an injunction on companies that use "essential patents" from Microsoft in their products. However, Microsoft said today that Motorola isn't coming close to offering their patents in a fair manner. Microsoft uses an example of a $1,000 laptop. Heiner claims that Motorola is demanding a patent royalty fee of $22.50 for such a laptop for the 50 patents that it holds for the video standard.
Microsoft claims that 29 other companies hold a total of over 2,300 other patents that are needed to run the video standard, including Microsoft. The company says it would only charge two cents in royalties for that $1,000 laptop. Heiner writes:
And that is for a mid-level, $1,000 laptop. For a $2,000 laptop, Motorola is demanding double the royalty - $45. Windows is the same on both laptops, and so is the video support in Windows. But the high-end laptop will have a bigger hard drive, more memory, perhaps a titanium case—and Motorola is demanding a hefty royalty on all of this, even though none of these features implements Motorola’s video patents.