Microsoft patent fight with Google could ban Google Maps in Germany

There are rumors that Google informally alerted the European Union about Microsoft "software error" that lead to this week's massive fine against Microsoft by the EU. Now it looks like Microsoft might get some indirect payback against Google in another case.

That case is being heard in a courtroom in Germany this week and concerns a patent that Microsoft claimed in Europe in 1996, EP0845124, on a "computer system for identifying local resources and method therefor." Microsoft says that Google is in violation of that patent with their Google Maps service.

Today, FOSS Patents reports that Google may not be able to convince the judge in this case that Microsoft's patent claim will be ruled as invalid "at the end of a parallel nullity proceeding." Because of this, Microsoft could seek, and most likely will be granted, an injunction against Google Maps in Germany.

If a judge rules in Microsoft's favor, Google will be forced to remove all access to Google Maps in Germany. That means no PC web browsers would be able to view Google Maps nor could those maps be accessed on any smartphone or tablet. Since Germany is the biggest single country in Europe in terms of population, such a ban would be a huge one for Google and its Maps service.

Source: FOSS Patents
German flag via Shutterstock

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pgn said,
Good, when you steal you lose. Google has a long history of IP theft and now will pay by losing access to markets.

Microsoft could also license the patent to google at exactly 750 million dollars.

if I were MS, and with the recent MOTOROLA FRAND patent issues, I'd offer them extortionate levels of 'fairness' - not too keep on Google right now, hate em in fact, they are evil!

duddit2 said,
if I were MS, and with the recent MOTOROLA FRAND patent issues, I'd offer them extortionate levels of 'fairness' - not too keep on Google right now, hate em in fact, they are evil!
These are not standards essential and have no FRAND pledge has been made so there is no "fair" in this case. MS can simply demand what it wants or not license at all. Going on Microsoft's past record though, they will look to license and monetise the patent.

Since Germany is the biggest single country in Europe in terms of population, such a ban would be a huge one for Google and its Maps service.

Germany is often the first country they start suing in for EU IP.
If MS wins in Germany, they will go to the other EU countries.

sdgreen said,
All these patent battles are becoming ridiculous, indeed in the end, costing consumers more money likely.

It's true they are getting ridiculous but it's mainly because companies (particularly large ones with massive legal teams) think they can get away with IP theft, which in most cases they do and we have a case where companies just freeload off other's R&D.

ingramator said,

It's true they are getting ridiculous but it's mainly because companies (particularly large ones with massive legal teams) think they can get away with IP theft, which in most cases they do and we have a case where companies just freeload off other's R&D.


Just the same, it's important not to adopt a blanket anti-corporation point of view. It's very popular to favor the "little guy", the hobbyist, the start-up, etc., but it's wrong and damaging to pretend David is always the good guy and Goliath is always the greedy unscrupulous capitalist.

As attitudes go these days, I'm starting to think people want businesses to have maximum years to exist. Run a successful business for 20 years? SCREW YOU, MOVE OVER FOR THE START-UP.

sdgreen said,
All these patent battles are becoming ridiculous, indeed in the end, costing consumers more money likely.

The only one hurt will be google and (possibly) small companies, The main aim here is obviously to try and kill android as much as possible. Not saying I agree but its obvious that is what is happening here.

Well google should just man up instead of doing the same **** over and over again, they think they can do what they want to anyone.

> The main aim here is obviously to try and kill android as much as possible

With an ever increasing amount of microsoft products going cross-platrom i really don't think that's the case, with a Apple it is, but not MS. The whole browser Ballot screen issue is a joke in itself.

A smarter move would have been to force _all_ computer operating systems to force a browser, and media player ballot at install, not just windows.

This would truly level the playing field. But the EU decided to make one rule for one, and ignore everyone else. Remember, Microsoft were punished for baking IE in to the OS at its very core, yet we see Google doing the exact same thing with it's chromebooks and no one bats an eye. Equally why is it okay to make one vendor strip out media playback functionality in certain territories, but other vendors have it as a core component in the same territories to the point where it cannot be removed without hacking the system.

I live in the EU, and these double standards are infuriating.

I don't know what you mean but a lot of cities have streetview in Germany .. else there wouldn't have been a debate on whether Google has to censor out buildings per owners requests.

And Google will appeal which will drag this on for a while. Get used to this kind of BS people. These kind of tactics will only increase. This isnt going to be the last of it. I think this really says something about the company and their faith in themselves and their products. Used to be that you produce a better superior product that people would want over the competitors. Show, advertise, and prove why it is superior and get people to buy your product. Now its produce a product, doesnt do well, target the leader and fire away. Take the CEOs of Samsung, Google Apple, and Microsoft...lock them in a room and let them have at it. Hell, Id pay to see that match up.

Sad though as for me at least, Google Maps is my defacto choice for mapping of anything and I'm consistently impressed with just how good it is - be it the traffic info, Street View or whatever.. as a package it just blows anything that Microsoft have out of the water.

I know there are a lot of Microsoft enthusiasts and I know they get easily offended when you say something critical about their beloved company but Bing Maps is not even 1/3 of the product that Google Maps is.

That said, if Microsoft have relevant patents and Google ignored them, then they should be forced to pay an appropriate fine - it's only fair.

Thing is, this is widely seen as payback for the browser ballot fiasco. You're missing the point and your comment thus looks... misinformed.


If a judge rules in Microsoft's favor, Google will be forced to remove all access to Google Maps in Germany. That means no PC web browsers would be able to view Google Maps nor could those maps be accessed on any smartphone or tablet. Since Germany is the biggest single country in European Union in terms of population, such a ban would be a huge one for Google and its Maps service.

Fixed for you.

We need an International patent system. This sort of **** is complete bull****. Consumers are the ones losing out, because Bing and everything Bing represents is completely inferior to Google.

And before any of the haters arrive. This has nothing to do with Google stealing my datas and knowing stuff about me. Because honestly, I don't give a ****.

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