Once Again, Motorola Gets Slapped Around Over Attempt To License Standards Patents At High Rates To Microsoft
from the just-drop-it-already dept
Microsoft and Motorola have been fighting over patents for many years, predating Google purchasing Motorola Mobility. One thing that’s never made any sense at all is why Google continued this strategy. While it may have been a short-term money grab, and a way to poke Microsoft in the eye, it seemed like Google could make a much stronger overall statement about abusing patents by changing course. And, even for those who don’t think that there’s a principled stand to take here, there’s the other side of it: the patent fight has been a complete disaster for Google/Motorola.
The ITC has sided with Microsoft, the FTC dinged Google for how it handled Motorola’s standards essential patents, the EU has sided with Microsoft and a US court did as well. And, the latest is that a jury in that trial has, once again, sided with Microsoft over Motorola, saying that Motorola was seeking licensing fees for standards essential patents that were way out of line.
This is a key battle over what “FRAND” (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing terms on standards essential patents (SEPs) should be. Historically, Google has been pretty good about pushing back against patent abuse, including the ridiculous licensing demands that get thrown around for SEPs. But when it inherited the Motorola case, it kept Motorola’s bad strategy going, and now it’s suffering the consequences. Google had a chance to make a really strong statement early on, chose not to, and now is getting slapped around pretty much everywhere for trying to charge ridiculously high licensing fees. This seems like a financial, strategic and legal mistake all wrapped in one.