Google Claims Microsoft And Nokia Are Using Patents To Violate Antitrust Laws

from the who-is-this-helping dept

I've pointed out a few times in the past that I don't think it really helps either company when Microsoft and Google to trade antitrust allegations against each other. Both companies are facing (or have faced) significant antitrust questions themselves, and raising them against each other just seems like sour grapes. A few months ago, Microsoft filed an EU complaint against Google, arguing that its plans for licensing the Motorola patents it acquired amounted to an antitrust violation. Now, Google has hit back, filing a similar accusation back at Microsoft (and Nokia), arguing that their deal, transferring some 2,000 patents and patent applications to Canadian patent troll Mosaid, represents an antitrust violation:
Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side- step promises both companies have made.
I'm still pretty damn skeptical of either claim. The fact that both were filed in the EU is telling, as the EU generally has a much more aggressive interpretation of antitrust law, meaning that both of these filings really look like two giants slapping each other around for sport, rather than competing in the marketplace.

The only thing that I do find kind of interesting about both filings is the fact that they're focused on the use of patents as a lever for antitrust activity. Patents are, by their very nature, a government-granted monopoly. And there have been arguments made that, as such, their usage deserves extra scrutiny when it comes to antitrust analysis. Though, on the flip side, people might point out that, as government-granted monopolies, patents are immune from antitrust analysis, since by their very nature, they're a government-granted allowance for antitrust behavior. It is, after all, the government granting a monopoly. Should it really be any surprise that companies then do monopolistic things with them?

Either way, I don't see either filing ending well for either company involved. If anything, we can just hope that it helps demonstrate how patents themselves are tools of monopolistic antitrust behavior.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    identicon
    Glen, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:30am

    And with each allegation these companies use against each other, we all loose. Please just innovation and improve on each other and we will all be happier and better for it.

     

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      saulgoode (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      I disagree. For decades, the courts have been oblivious to the problems that the nonsense of patents has been causing in the world of software development. Larger corporations, and now patent trolls, have been using patents for decades to repress and extort smaller outfits and private developers while the government turns a blind eye to, or endorses, such abuse.

      In my opinion, the more litigation, the better. Far better to have the system implode from within than to have the state of affairs remain as they are.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      Patents are just a revenue source. "We" don't "all" lose. The rich stockholders gain tremendously by increased revenue, and couldn’t give a tinker’s damn how that money was stol^h^h^h^ um … er … ah … acquired.

      Consumers are just dumb suppliers of a commodity known as "money". Only an utter fool would think that the real customer of any corporation is anyone other than its owners/shareholders.

      Don't lose sight of the fact that corporations despise consumers because consumers make such a fuss about giving their away hard-earned money just to feed the rich. If corporations ran the government, the government would just expropriate peoples’ money by the billions and give truckloads of peoples’ money to the corporations in exchange for nothing. Oh wait, what do I mean by “if”? Bush43/Obama already did that (“bail-outs”) and you consumers got screwed.

      Yet, despite all the whining, consumers see no choice but give away their hard-earned money for life's necessities like failure-prone shiny junk such as this years whoopee-shit "cell phones". How ever did the world survive so long without such genuine bare essentials?

      Like bush 43 said - keep on shopping (effing suckers)

       

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        KingofDarkness, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re:

        I agree, what do you mean IF? Corporate lobby efforts run congress. Take a look at the sugar cane industry. Heavily subsidized for no good reason other than to pad the pockets of a mega-tycoon family... It is a crying shame and is only getting worse. Consumers are not suppliers of money, consumers are the commodity (owned by the gov't) to be traded (identified by SSN, not unlike a bonds ID#) and siphoned...

        American democracy = Mirage

         

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        nasch (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 1:41pm

        Re: Re:

        Only an utter fool would think that the real customer of any corporation is anyone other than its owners/shareholders.

        A customer is someone who pays a provider for a good or service. The company might be the customer of the owners and shareholders, but I don't see how the shareholders could be the company's customers since the money goes in the wrong direction for that.

         

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    Designerfx (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:42am

    while I don't like MS/Nokia

    The thing is, while I don't like MS and Nokia, Barnes and Noble's filings in court are pretty damning of exactly this. Considering that they settled after having put in some pretty heavy filings in court it's not much of a surprise to see Google carrying the ball after B&N settled.

     

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    Ed C., Jun 1st, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Easy fix

    It would be easy to fix these abuses of the patent system, but companies like Microsoft and Apple would never allow it--they willfully endure the abuses simply because they enjoy abusing others. Seriously, punitive judgements and injunctions is what gets them up in the morning. If they had to continually innovate on their own, without bludgeoning others with their past successes to plunder new innovations, they would just curl into a ball and weep themselves into a catatonic stupor. Have you ever seen a billionaire monopolist cry? It ain't pretty...

     

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      Digitari, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 2:31pm

      Re: Easy fix

      "Have you ever seen a billionaire monopolist cry? It ain't pretty..."

      Why yes, I have seen Vista and win8 Metro, why do you ask?

       

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    Android Smartphone, Nov 25th, 2012 @ 7:23pm

    I agree, what do you mean IF? Corporate lobby efforts run congress.

     

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    identicon
    wholesale lingerie, Feb 25th, 2013 @ 10:46pm

    Consumers are just dumb suppliers of a commodity known as "money". Only an utter fool would think that the real customer of any corporation is anyone other than its owners/shareholders.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      nasch (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:30am

      Re:

      Only an utter fool would think that the real customer of any corporation is anyone other than its owners/shareholders.

      Or someone who knows what "customer" means: "A person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or other business." Shareholders don't buy goods or services from the company they own, unless you really want to twist it around and claim they're buying the service of the company doing what they want. But by any normal use of words, customers are customers and owners are owners.

      The main idea behind your post however IMO is that corporations are much more beholden to their shareholders than to their customers. That's debatable, but certainly true of some corporations.

       

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