SMART PHONE PATENT ACTION SUITS MICROSOFT – Microsoft v Motorola

More patent infringement claims abound with Microsoft bringing action against Motorola, the manufacturer of several Android based smart phones (Droid 2). Motorola had only recently launched it’s new suite of  smart phones such as  Bravo, Defy, Droid Pro, Flipside and Spice, aimed at the budget conscious consumer.  Whilst Motorola formerly made phones based on Microsoft windows operating system it switched to Google’s Android operating system.

Curiously Microsoft initiated their patent action against Motorola only a week prior to their own launch of the Windows Phone 7.  Microsoft filed their patent infringement action against Motorola in relation to the Android technology, to get what some see as a hometown decision. Microsoft want a declaratory judgement in the U.S District Court in Seattle Washington. 

Microsoft also filed an action with the International Trade Commission asking for an order to preclude the importation of infringing smart phones into the United States.

Microsofts claim asserts infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorolas Android smart phones.  The nature of the patent infringement alleged is extremely broad ranging pertaining to a wide range of smart phone functionality common to all smar phones,  such as synch email, calenders and contacts, meeting scheduling features in addition to notifying applications of adjustments to signal strength and batter power. There seems to be a lack of specificity in the drafting of the infringement claims in outlining exactly what the nature of the infringing activity is.

Major players in the smart phone industry appear to be getting very concerned about protecting their technology.

This year has witnessed a series of  smart phone patent disputes. It was only earlier this year that Apple sued Android Google via HTC in respect of alleged infringement of no less than 20 patents relating to the iPhone user interface and underlying hardware and architecture. 

Apple and Nokia have sued each other over smart phone software patents, Motorola have sued Apple and  Oracle brought patent proceedings against Google claiming it developed it’s Android phone by  directly  using Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property.

The litigation being pursued by Microsoft is almost identical in nature to that brought against HTC by Apple earlier this year.  It tried to forestall Android from using iPhone features and eliminate any competitive advantage between the phones’ operating systems and user experiences.

The real source of discontent  by both Apple and Microsoft and their actual target appears to be Google’s free open source Android system software,  although the legal assaults have been conveniently mounted  against the hardware or handset manufacturer which is merely using Google’s technology.

The claims in the suit canvass a broad range of  software functionality.  In fact Oracle is the only company to have brought suit against Google possibly because pursuing Motorola may be an easier option.  Suing the hardware manufacturers is convenient as they are the ones who are reaping profits from the sale of the Android.

One of the dilemnas in bringing software-related patent infringement suits is that there is it is difficult to establish whether there is any original code left in these systems and therefore proving a violation. This is particularly so when the system is based on open source!

Microsoft isn’t perceived as a serious contender in the smart phone market compared to other companies, yet there is an obvious benefit in protracting proceedings over patent claims among smart phone Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Operating System (OS) makers.  Could this be a tactical ploy to delay the delivery of Motorola products?

Sales of Android phones and products have surpassed those of iPhones globally and the market will see the the number of android applications surpass those available in the iPhone App store very soon. There are a number of phone manufacturers, big and small, supporting it, which would have meant that the handsets would have been cheaper as well.

Patent Lawsuit Absurdity……

Apple Intellectual Property – Mirror Worlds LLC – Microsoft – Motorola – Android – LOLSUIT

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