Editor in Chief
- Jan 5, 2011
It looks like Google is finally fed up with the hypocrisy of Microsoft in the world of patent wars. They have launched a counter-offensive by filing an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft and Nokia in Europe. Google's argument is that both Microsoft and Nokia are using proxy companies like Canada-based Mosaid Technologies to enforce their patents and share the revenues derived from them. Google is basically accusing Nokia of collusion with Microsoft and Mosaid, and that they have deviated from their previous position to support open-source software. The conspiracy comes about because shortly after Microsoft and Nokia created a cross-licensing deal for their patents, Mosaid (a patent proxy company partnered with Microsoft) bought an entity called Core Wireless. This company owned 2,000 patents and patent applications originally filed by Nokia.
Here is Google's statement on the issue,
Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made, a Google spokesman said in a statement. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices.
Of course, Nokia and Microsoft responded. Nokia commented,
Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Googles suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on intellectual property rights is wrong. Both companies have their own IPR portfolios and strategies and operate independently.
Microsoft fired back with the following statement,
Google is complaining about patents when it wont respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95% of mobile search and advertising. This seems like a desperate tactic on their part.
It looks like this "legal battle" is degenerating into a toddler's "he said - she said" slugfest, although there is some merit to Google's claims. In fact, this isn't the first time that Mosaid has been called out for this very same patent trolling behavior. Barnes & Noble stated in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department in October: Microsofts partnership with Mosaid is evidence of Microsofts broader plan to shield itself from patent lawsuits while also eliminating competition from Android.
Furthermore, the following statement from Mosaid CEO John Lindgren seems to suggest that it was their plan all along when they purchased the patent portfolio from Core Wireless, "This is one of the strongest standards-essential wireless portfolios available on the market, and we are thrilled that we... have the opportunity to monetize it."