PATENT HOLDER Motorola Mobility has defended itself against accusations of unfairness from Microsoft.
In a blog post this week Microsoft whined about how Motorola is trying to make money off the back of the H.264 codec, which it says is keeping internet video alive. Not all parties might agree with this, but regardless of that, Microsoft said that Motorola is trying to shake it down for a lot of cash just for using a standard that is supposed to be open.
"Motorola and all the other firms that contributed to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would not use them to block competitors from shipping their products," said Dave Heiner, VP and deputy general counsel at Microsoft.
"Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn't seem to be willing to change course."
Patents have always been associated with this deal, and Google presumably dragged its accountants through the painful process of adopting Motorola's intellectual property, as traditionally its line on patents and people that try to rake in lots of cash from them is that they are bad.
In its statement Motorola said that Microsoft was exaggerating things and being a nuisance. "Motorola Mobility has an industry leading patent portfolio and a history of successful cross-licensing with a wide spectrum of companies in the U.S. and around the world," it said.
"Microsoft's complaint and blog posting today are simply tactics in the patent battle that Microsoft initiated with surprise infringement actions against Motorola Mobility in October 2010 accompanied by press statements making clear the actions were aimed at Android."
While Heiner gives the impression that Motorola Mobility is being obnoxious, the subject of its criticisms said that this is not true. In its statement it said that it has tried hard to be fair with Microsoft, and suggested that it was just trying to cause problems, make noise, and keep its lawyers busy.
"Contrary to Microsoft's assertions, Motorola Mobility remains open to resolving the current licensing dispute with Microsoft in a mutually beneficial manner. Microsoft has touted the value of patent licensing for its own patents, but a fair resolution requires that Microsoft also recognize the value of the Motorola Mobility patents it is using," it said.
"Motorola Mobility offered Microsoft the same FRAND terms it historically offered to other licensees, but Microsoft ignored the offer, preferring instead to use litigation as its strategy."
Microsoft complained that it might have to pay a tribute of up to $22.50 for every $1,000 laptop sold, and suggested that it might be fairer to pay just a few cents. This is the firm that is thought to make $10 to $15 from every $500 Android device that is sold, and for a raft of trivial software patents, not standard essential ones. µ
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