Motorola plots revenge against Microsoft with lawsuit

Based on a report from winrumors, Motorola has filed a complaint against Microsoft alleging that they are infringing on 16 different patents owned by Motorola. Motorola filed the complaint just two days after Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Motorola for charging royalty rates higher than the amount originally agreed upon by the two companies. 

Motorola's complaints are cover a wide range of products and software offered by Microsoft. The complaint claims that digital video coding techniques, email technology used by Exchange server and Outlook, and Windows Live Messenger all infringe on patents owned by Motorola. They also claim that the Windows Phone Marketplace and Bing Maps also contain technology patented by Motorola. 

Kirk Dailey, corporate vice president of intellectual property at Motorola Mobility, had this to say about the lawsuit: 

“Motorola’s R&D and intellectual property are of great importance to the Company and are renowned worldwide. We are committed to protecting the interests of our shareholders, customers and other stakeholders and are bringing this action against Microsoft in order to halt its infringement of key Motorola patents. Motorola has invested billions of dollars in R&D to create a deep and broad intellectual property portfolio and we will continue to do what is necessary to protect our proprietary technology. ”

Dailey went on to say that he is disappointed Microsoft chose to take the path of litigation to resolve their pricing dispute with Motorola rather than work things out through corporate negotiations. This brings up the questions; why did Motorola choose the same path? 

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Flawed said,

Are you clairvoyant? Motorola has a respectable IP portfolio, as evidenced by microsoft already licensing its technology.


Really? So Microsoft suing Motorola is Google's fault? lol. You have to ask the question why didn't Microsoft sue these handset makers sooner? If MS was interested in protecting its IP, why not sue them as soon as the product is released? Instead, Microsoft waits just before it launches its own phone and sues. This wouldn't have anything to do with getting OEM's on board with making WP7 phones and extorting the MS tax from every other phone could it?

In answer, Microsoft's litigation against Android handset makers is a carefully orchestrated move to spread the misinformation that FOSS software isn't free. It was the same with TomTom. Make back room deals licensing IP to give the impression that it's more costly to deploy FOSS than microsoft's proprietary lock-in. Just look at the recent F.U.D video about OpenOffice by microsoft. It's all about perception, extortion, and anti-competitive behaviour.

As far as patents and copyrights are concerned, I believe they should all be abolished. Unfortunately at the moment, the current system encourages the bullying of smaller companies by larger ones in order to maintain hegemony and old monopolies.

I don't know if Microsoft will win, but I do know that Microsoft has a considerable arsenal of technology and patents, and Motorola also knows this and pretty much gave MS the finger instead of trying to deal with the initial few issues that were asked of them to settle with licensing.

As for the movement against FOSS, if Microsoft really wanted to take out Linux and even other OSes including OS X, they easily could do this, or at least cripple the products to unusable levels.

When trolls talk about Microsoft copying technology, it is fairly amusing when you realize that a majority of the interactions and UI concepts that people use daily on OS X and KDE and GNOME come from Microsoft R&D teams, dating back to the early 80s.

Some of these are really simple UI and interaction concepts that simply did not exist before Microsoft developed them, yet are used in virtually every aspect of any modern GUI.

If you want to test this, just go look up the work that came from the Microsoft Word team in the 80s.

And this isn't even dipping into the lower level technology contributions that Microsoft has developed that is part of OS architecture models, API set concepts or hardware designs. IF MS wanted to be nasty they could hurt the GPU industry on a massive scale as Intel, NVidia and ATI all have benefited from MS engineering on GPU design technology.

Even something as big and important as modern OpenGL could be hurt if this was MS's intent. Look at when OpenGL was making the shift from being a 3D design API to a gaming API and sucking ideas from the DirectX progression that directly targeted concepts for gaming performance. (Which was the crux of the split between Microsoft and the OpenGL group that forced Microsoft to abandon OpenGL, which had been the 3D API framework that shipped on Windows NT for many years.)

So if you see this as 'a way' for Microsoft to hurt FOSS or eliminate it, you are dead wrong. Because if this was their intent, they wouldn't be targeting specific licensing, they would cripple or kill the OSes and key parts of the OSes directly.

It is simply about licensing issues, something that most companies have been fairly good about, and something that Microsoft has put a LOT of money into to protect their consumers and developers. (Microsoft offered up a considerable chunk of money just for licensing audio and video codecs they put into Windows7, so that developers and consumers don't have to worry about it.)

FOSS has some problems not only with their own crazy licensing and licensing restrictions, but when it comes to remedy from additions to the projects that do infringe on active technologies that other companies put a lot of R&D money into creating. However, Microsoft didn't create this problem, and they are amazingly reluctant to even act on very specific things they created until a company starts using them for profit, as the TomTom case was a very good example.

day2die said,

Microsoft sued TomTom for that FAT file system not linux.

I'm sorry but that's wrong. Microsoft was suing TomTom because it used the Linux kernel which implements the FAT filesystem. The patent in question was concerning the storage of long/short file names. A silly and obvious patent if I might add that has yet to be tested in court. So yes, microsoft was suing TomTom for using Linux. MS has made threats against Linux in the past using vague language to spread Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. The usual MS tactics basically.

day2die said,

If Microsoft has to license something from Motorola, Motorola should do the same of the patent belonging to Microsoft.

This isn't about licensing IP for microsoft. This is about bullying OEM's into making WP7 phones, and paying an MS tax on all Android phones sold. If one OEM refuses to pay, they might all rebel. That's not something MS wants to risk. Android is inherently cheaper, and thus more profitable for OEM's, so without a tax on it, microsoft just can't compete. It's funny really, because it reminds me of the RIAA/MPAA forcing levies on blank DVD-R, CD-R, hard drives, and portable music players.

day2die said,

At least get the facts right.

The facts seem correct to me. Perhaps you should look again at them.

thenetavenger said,

I don't know if Microsoft will win, but I do know that Microsoft has a considerable arsenal of technology and patents, and Motorola also knows this and pretty much gave MS the finger instead of trying to deal with the initial few issues that were asked of them to settle with licensing.

I'll repeat this again. It's not about licensing, it's about forcing Motorola to get with the program, namely, making WP7 phones. Of course the other reason is to give the impression that FOSS isn't free. This is just another blatant attack on Free Open Source Software from the evil Microsoft Corporation.
thenetavenger said,

As for the movement against FOSS, if Microsoft really wanted to take out Linux and even other OSes including OS X, they easily could do this, or at least cripple the products to unusable levels.

They could try, but they wont, because it would mean testing their patents in court. And microsoft knows many of them are bogus and would be invalidated. That's why all they do is make vague threats, and spread FUD. Never once testing them in a court of law.
thenetavenger said,

When trolls talk about Microsoft copying technology, it is fairly amusing when you realize that a majority of the interactions and UI concepts that people use daily on OS X and KDE and GNOME come from Microsoft R&D teams, dating back to the early 80s.
Some of these are really simple UI and interaction concepts that simply did not exist before Microsoft developed them, yet are used in virtually every aspect of any modern GUI.
If you want to test this, just go look up the work that came from the Microsoft Word team in the 80s.

That's funny, because I thought Xerox invented all that. Apple, Microsoft, and every other has since built on that foundation, including X, Gnome, KDE etc. What UI concepts do you think microsoft really invented? As far as I can tell, they have never invented a single thing in their entire existence. Microsoft isn't called the "Me too" company for nothing.
thenetavenger said,

And this isn't even dipping into the lower level technology contributions that Microsoft has developed that is part of OS architecture models, API set concepts or hardware designs. IF MS wanted to be nasty they could hurt the GPU industry on a massive scale as Intel, NVidia and ATI all have benefited from MS engineering on GPU design technology.

LOL. I wish I had a face palm image for this

thenetavenger said,

Even something as big and important as modern OpenGL could be hurt if this was MS's intent. Look at when OpenGL was making the shift from being a 3D design API to a gaming API and sucking ideas from the DirectX progression that directly targeted concepts for gaming performance. (Which was the crux of the split between Microsoft and the OpenGL group that forced Microsoft to abandon OpenGL, which had been the 3D API framework that shipped on Windows NT for many years.)

You do realise that OpenGL and its predecessors were developed decades before microsoft decided to implement its own graphics library right? The real question is, how much of DirectX is a direct (pun intended) copy of OpenGL.
thenetavenger said,

So if you see this as 'a way' for Microsoft to hurt FOSS or eliminate it, you are dead wrong. Because if this was their intent, they wouldn't be targeting specific licensing, they would cripple or kill the OSes and key parts of the OSes directly.

If they could, they would. But with FOSS, anybody can take the code, tweak it, and re-release it for public consumption, hence, the futility of it. Also, MS prefers to spread FUD rather than risk invalidating its dodgy patents.
thenetavenger said,

It is simply about licensing issues, something that most companies have been fairly good about, and something that Microsoft has put a LOT of money into to protect their consumers and developers. (Microsoft offered up a considerable chunk of money just for licensing audio and video codecs they put into Windows7, so that developers and consumers don't have to worry about it.)

It's not about protecting customers, it's about protecting itself and the revenue stream. This isn't some altruistic act. It's about maintaining a strangle hold on the market, and eliminating competition.

thenetavenger said,

FOSS has some problems not only with their own crazy licensing and licensing restrictions,

LOL. The licensing is there so companies like Microsoft can't rip off GPL code and not publish its own commercial derivatives. Like in the case of the Windows 7 USB tool. Microsoft had to post an apology and the code it lifted from a GPL project. Without a license (copy left), some less scrupulous companies might choose not to contribute back to FOSS.

In terms of restrictions, the GPL is no more restrictive than Microsoft's licensing. The difference is, the GPL is copy left, whereas proprietary companies like Microsoft are copyright. Copyleft promotes and encourages the sharing of code and improvements, and copyright seeks to limit or forbid completely any sort of copying.

thenetavenger said,

until a company starts using them for profit, as the TomTom case was a very good example.

You do realise the patent used in suing TomTom was targeting the Linux kernel right? Specifically, the storage of long/short file names using the most logical method you could imagine, but microsoft patented it. In fact at one point it was invalidated, then re-instated. And has yet to be tested in a court of law. That's why it's easy for microsoft to sue companies using open source code. They can access the source code freely and look for anything resembling their patents. The same can't be said of windows. Who knows how much of it uses FOSS code and ideas.

Flawed said,

This isn't about licensing IP for microsoft. This is about bullying OEM's into making WP7 phones, and paying an MS tax on all Android phones sold. If one OEM refuses to pay, they might all rebel. That's not something MS wants to risk. Android is inherently cheaper, and thus more profitable for OEM's, so without a tax on it, microsoft just can't compete. It's funny really, because it reminds me of the RIAA/MPAA forcing levies on blank DVD-R, CD-R, hard drives, and portable music players.

Read this: http://www.pcworld.com/busines...va_infringement_not_us.html

Google basically said that Android violating patents is none of its business and that it's third parties' fault.

Also did you really thing Android is free? Google Talk, Gmail, Youtube, Android Market, etc. has to be licensed from Google.

I'll repeat this again. It's not about licensing, it's about forcing Motorola to get with the program, namely, making WP7 phones. Of course the other reason is to give the impression that FOSS isn't free. This is just another blatant attack on Free Open Source Software from the evil Microsoft Corporation.

I wonder why Apple is suing Motorola too, maybe they refused to make an iOS phone?
They could try, but they wont, because it would mean testing their patents in court. And microsoft knows many of them are bogus and would be invalidated. That's why all they do is make vague threats, and spread FUD. Never once testing them in a court of law.

Yup, Microsoft will initiate a patent lawsuit based on vague threats. Dam I would love to be one of their lawyers...get paid millions to do absolutely nothing but make "vague threats"
As far as I can tell, they have never invented a single thing in their entire existence. Microsoft isn't called the "Me too" company for nothing.

I wish I had a facepalm image for that.

Don't you think its completely odd that just after Microsoft sues Motorola, Motorola suddenly comes up with a whole bunch of patents relating to Windows, and Exchange (two of Microsoft's biggest products).

What were they just being nice and sitting around? Because I'm pretty sure if a corporation owned a patent to products as big as those they would want to get in on the money.

Flawed said,
...FOSS...

Seems like you think MS have a hate on for FOSS. Are you a time traveller from 2005?

Microsoft's developer divisions are hard at work to make open source software on windows better.
They are working to make their visual studio project work better with open source repositories.
They are also looking at making a dependency management system that will allow you to compile OSS software to native windows binaries.

Take a look at all of the FOSS you can get using the webmatrix tool (Web Platform Installer).

FOSS is here to stay, and MS are trying to play nice in their sandbox.
This is not about FOSS, it's about Patents and Licensing fees.

stop being an outdated FUDmonger.

"The complaint claims that digital video coding techniques, email technology used by Exchange server and Outlook, and Windows Live Messenger all infringe on patents owned by Motorola"

Is this really true? Motorola had it before Microsoft? How many different ways can you digitally encode video by those means?

este said,

Is this really true? Motorola had it before Microsoft? How many different ways can you digitally encode video by those means?

Microsoft already licenses IP from Motorola and many others. Do you think MS came up with all their ideas independently? Guess again.

Flawed said,

Microsoft already licenses IP from Motorola and many others. Do you think MS came up with all their ideas independently? Guess again.

And this is the point, Microsoft is really good about ensuring they play by the rules and pay for licensing and technology. Heck for Win7, Microsoft even paid licensing for codecs that were are result of the codec work Microsoft originally created in the 90s.

A lot of these licensing wars are made more confusing because Apple and Microsoft have kept to their 1990s agreement to not sue each other, that allows both companies to borrow technology from each other at a certain level as long as it doesn't break requirements of keeping and defending their patents.

When Motorola picks up an OSS project that is violating patents and copyrights held by Apple or Microsoft, Motorola should know better and license these technologies, like most companies have done without even a quibble over the matter.

If more companies take the position that Motorola is trying to take, it could destroy a lot of the FOSS projects out there, as it will push past their implementation and could extend to rulings that stop the FOSS projects from using them as well.

Google should be screaming at Motorola to freaking license what they should, but it seems Google is just as silly, not realizing that their fight over JAVA could not only kill Android's application API, but also extend beyond and hurt other FOSS JAVA implementations.

Quattrone said,
First Apple and then Microsoft? wtf is going on with Motorola? they don't own the world.

They knew that Microsoft was infringing on their patents but did not do anything about it, but now that Microsoft is trying to screw them over for selling Windows Phones, they are protecting themselves by counter suing.

MindTrickz said,

They knew that Microsoft was infringing on their patents but did not do anything about it, but now that Microsoft is trying to screw them over for selling Windows Phones, they are protecting themselves by counter suing.


I think you are using the term "counter suing" in the wrong way. That would mean Microsoft sued motorola and now Motorola is counter suing MS.

chisss said,

I think you are using the term "counter suing" in the wrong way. That would mean Microsoft sued motorola and now Motorola is counter suing MS.

Motorola filed the complaint just two days after Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Motorola for charging royalty rates higher than the amount originally agreed upon by the two companies.

Quattrone said,
First Apple and then Microsoft? wtf is going on with Motorola? they don't own the world.

Counter-litigation is commonplace in the world of patent law. MS sued Motorola because it wants them to make a WP7 phone. Motorola gave them the finger and counter-sued

Flawed said,

Counter-litigation is commonplace in the world of patent law. MS sued Motorola because it wants them to make a WP7 phone. Motorola gave them the finger and counter-sued

So you are saying that Microsoft would pay license for Motorola patents, but Motorola shouldn't do the same for Microsoft's patent?

Flawed said,

Counter-litigation is commonplace in the world of patent law. MS sued Motorola because it wants them to make a WP7 phone. Motorola gave them the finger and counter-sued
Yeh that's exactly how corporations work. I wonder why Apple sued them too hmm.

I wonder why Microsoft sued HTC and settled out of court too, I mean they made Windows Mobile phones...Windows Phone 7 phones and Android.

This is why software patents should be outlawed.

In the end, no matter who wins, the customers lose by paying the costs for their legal battles in increased pricing of products.

Hercules said,
This is why software patents should be outlawed.

In the end, no matter who wins, the customers lose by paying the costs for their legal battles in increased pricing of products.


I could not agree more.

Hercules said,
This is why software patents should be outlawed.
In the end, no matter who wins, the customers lose by paying the costs for their legal battles in increased pricing of products.

I agree totally. It's bad for competition as it ultimately leads to monolithic cartels and oligopolies. The smaller startups can't compete, so they either get gobbled up by larger ones, or get litigated out of existence. An example would be when Google released WebM. It threatened the established MPEG group cartel consisting of members such as Microsoft, Apple, etc who pool their IP and go after competitors.

Flawed said,

I agree totally. It's bad for competition as it ultimately leads to monolithic cartels and oligopolies. The smaller startups can't compete, so they either get gobbled up by larger ones, or get litigated out of existence. An example would be when Google released WebM. It threatened the established MPEG group cartel consisting of members such as Microsoft, Apple, etc who pool their IP and go after competitors.

So you are saying that Google doesn't have money to defend its own format?

and more to the point, some of the patents are so bloody vague you wonder why companies were allowed to register them in the first place, either that or its the patenting of an everyday technology that a bloody child could think of. "a button to turn a device on and off" oh...you have a power button on your phone? thats an infringement of intellectual property. Extreme example but you get the point.

Patents are not just a way to protect an original idea and encourage innovation, they are a way for companies to restrict what their competitors can do.

I bet this is what's going on behind the scenes:-

MS: "Let's make a deal!"
MO: "Yeah!"

Later...

MO: *Let's increase the cost and blackmail Microsoft that we will sue them for stuff if they don't let us.*

Meph said,
I bet this is what's going on behind the scenes:-
MS: "Let's make a deal!"
MO: "Yeah!"
Later...
MO: *Let's increase the cost and blackmail Microsoft that we will sue them for stuff if they don't let us.*

I think the conversation would have gone more like this:

MS: "Motorola, I see you're not making a WP7 phone for our launch, why not!"
MO: "Android has no licensing fees and is so successful at the moment that we don't feel it's profitable to make windows phones any more."

MS: "This doesn't look good. Companies no longer fear our wroth if they don't deploy
Windows. We had better sue them into complying! Resistance is futile!"

Later...
MS: "I know, let's spread some F.U.D that Free Open Source Software isn't free at all. Because we will sue them and extort our Microsoft Tax if they use it, making our license fees cheaper than using FOSS, muhaahha!!"

Microsoft then makes a statement to that effect and sues Motorola. Except of course Motorola doesn't play ball.

Edited by Flawed, Nov 11 2010, 10:34pm :

Flawed said,

I think the conversation would have gone more like this:

MS: "Motorola, I see you're not making a WP7 phone for our launch, why not!"
MO: "Android has no licensing fees and is so successful at the moment that we don't feel it's profitable to make windows phones any more."

MS: "This doesn't look good. Companies no longer fear our wroth if they don't deploy
Windows. We had better sue them into complying! Resistance is futile!"

Later...
MS: "I know, let's spread some F.U.D that Free Open Source Software isn't free at all. Because we will sue them and extort our Microsoft Tax if they use it, making our license fees cheaper than using FOSS, muhaahha!!"

Microsoft then makes a statement to that effect and sues Motorola. Except of course Motorola doesn't play ball.

Who said that it doesn't cost anything. Google Talk, Youtube, Gmail, Android Market, etc. have to be licensed from Google. Motoblur cost money to make.

At least get the facts right.

Oh great, another patent lawsuit article.

Which means another round of people shaking their tiny fists about how software patents are the debbil, because they completely fail to grasp what's actually going on here, and that patent disputes happen all the time, and almost always end with settlements beneficial to both sides.

Generally speaking, I would prefer these articles simply never get written. Anyone in the know is already aware that these things are non-issues and not even 1/10 as sensational as bloggers want to believe they are. These articles get posted to rile people up over a cause that doesn't really exist when there are better battles to be fought. It's idiotic, the people who get riled up are idiotic, and anyone who runs around flapping their heads about the evils of software patents is idiotic, free speech be damned.

It's the equivalent of armageddon conspiracy theorists pushing carts on city streets.

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