Microsoft v Motorola

Take the natural progression of mobile device software, add in some overpriced corporate law types and a very big and very popular target, and you get a new round of patent lawsuits!  This time around it's Microsoft v. Moto, at least on the surface.  The suit (we have the full filing after the break) focuses on Motorola's Android devices (of course) and specifically names the Droid 2 in several of its nine claims of infringement. 

Here's the full statement from Microsoft, with the meat in bold:

“Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.

We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year in bringing innovative software products and services to market. Motorola needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its Android smartphones.”

I'm not a lawyer, nor do I claim to be, but even I can fix this one.  Moto -- make a few Windows Phone 7 handsets so Microsoft doesn't feel like the ugly girl on prom night, sign Redmond's papers and settle for very little financial loss, and be done with it.  Worked for HTC!  But please, be sure to lock the bootloader and change the OS so that Google is the default search engine for us m'kay?  Hit the break to read the whole 243 pages of legalese.  [MicrosoftCNet]

Update: Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez blogs about it here.

Microsoft Motorola Patent Suit


Reader comments

Microsoft sues Motorola over Android


Yeah, they don't even have to sell the phone widely to make this all go away.

But really, give in to that would be the wrong thing to do. These patents are obvious, and should be stricken down. You knuckle under on this and the next thing is they will want you to pay royalties on each version of Android sold. From that day on, they own android and Linux.

All the handset manufactures should band together and fight this and demand an FTC investigation as to why these suits show up a few days after Jobs declares that Andorid is the enemy of Apple and Microsoft.

These are nothing patents, and obvious patents.

Besides that, there is a court case that already states that NTP owns the patents on email sync.

That's karma for locking down their phones. Never thought I'd ever say this but GO MICROSOFT.

I don't like Microsoft either, I think this is sour grapes, and I know Windows Phone 7 is gonna suck also. But dammit, SOMEONE has to make Motorola pay for screwing us all. And if it has to be Microsoft then so be it.


UHOH Microsoft is upset that everyone has been complaining about how bad bing sucks and google is better so they are looking for another way to force feed it to the android community like it is peas being fed to a baby. (Of course the hacker and mod community regurgetate it just as quickly.) Can we sue Microsoft for their crappy search engine causing us to miss vital information that we could have found using google instead?

"...including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power."

And what smartphone doesn't do this? Are they actually claiming copyright infringement by copying code, or are they really claiming that no other mobile device can do those things because they have patents on them?

Don't know about the solution, but co-sign on keep Google as the default search engine. I've shut down every link, closed every automatically installed toolbar, any connection to bing I can find... The commercial are cute, but the search engine is not. Bing? more like boing....

Man, reading that is DULL!

I'm not so sure this about Android specifically. From the looks it might be about the Motorola widgets (the "blur" stuff). It also might be about the parts of Linux which were already determined not to be truly open source because they were ports of functionality from various Windows builds.

If the first, then Motorola will need to show they did not use patented tech in their widgets. If the second then they need to enter into a licensing agreement (like HTC and Samsung already have done).

It also might be about the parts of Linux which were already determined not to be truly open source because they were ports of functionality from various Windows builds.

Uh, that never happened.

Joelist, quit making up stupid lies. Linux certainly does not contain anything "ported" from MS-Windows and never has.

yo, the Droid's already have Google as the default.

Really, this is getting old. VZW phones with the word DROID in the name are Google phones. The others are not Google phones. The presence of Android does not automatically make a phone a Google phone.

Simple test - turn the phone over. Does it say "with Google" on the back? No? Then it is not a Google phone.

Wow, name me a mobile device out there that does not infringe on these patents and I will buy you a 100 of them.

This is what is wrong with the whole patent system. People have been allowed to patent just about anything. I'm sure someone out there owns the patent for replying to a message on a message board, so we better watch out or someone will be coming after us next...

The patent world is a mess, and if you think this is easy to sweep away or it's going to be the last one you will be surprised. So many companies hold patents that they willfully don't enforce until the infringing party has made enough in sales to justify a huge settlement. Android violates a TON of them, and pretending that they don't exist is a good way to fall into a pretty tight trap. If you think Microsoft is bad just wait until NTP wakes up from their food coma after eating RIM alive, and turns their sights on Google, HTC, Motorola, or any other big name in the Android space. It will be a bloodbath. Apple has quite a few as well, it wont be long before Android is a big enough player to have a huge target on it's back.

However, the law still says that patenting ideas is illegal, and software patents have been ruled to be illegal in the past.

The thing could end up in the supreme court one of these days and the whole concept op software patents could be struck down. The court has already shown they are leaning this way when the struck down any patent that is obvious to anyone skilled in the craft.

The idea that you could own A =B+C and have to licence C=B-A from me in order to write your program is absurd, because its obvious to someone skilled in programming.

The system will collapse of its own weight. All it needs is a nudge from the courts to push it over the edge. Everytime someone tries to enforce a trivial software patent they put it at significant risk of being overturned.

NTP will not stick its nose out further, because research after the settlement found prior art. They are on thin ice as it is.

Verizon and Microsoft need to be brought up in a Class Action Suit for the Bing thing! I believe that this is the sort of thing that the FTC and the DOJ crawled up Microsoft's a$$ about a few years ago! You can NOT limit the customers choice in software that the customer can run/use if the customer pays for the device and the system!

Try and Uninstall Bing from the Facinate and the new VZW android phones that are coming with Bing.

Try and install Google Search as a option to Bing!

Try and uninstall the pre-installed Bloatware on your Android Smartphone...

I say Class Action Suit People!

Like earlier folks mentioned, most smartphones have this sort of functionality, it would be nearly impossible not to violate Microsoft's patent.

Besides, the patents mentioned are functions run by Android as an OS, not Motorola's hardware-specific implementation of them. Microsoft can (and will) use this strategy to sue every maker of an Android handset, because they all use this functionality by using Android on their phones. HTC was first, Moto is next, and who knows the next company that's going to be targeted. It's just another strategy at controlling the actions of competitors.

Software patents are stupid, anti-competitive, anti-consumer, anti-innovation, expensive, unnecessary, abusive, and just plain evil. They need to go away.

They are designed to protect potential profits and promote Greed! They are the proverbial Ace up the sleeve in this global CEM poker game!

This just makes me sad. It seems to me this is a marketing ploy, and somewhat par for the course with Microsoft. It's also a significant abuse of the patent system (but it seems all companies have this problem now).

The patent system was founded with the idea that a company could share an innovation and be rewarded with a short period of exclusivity on a technology. Several years ago someone snuck in a business method and fought to get it patented, which all software patents are based on. Until then, a patent had to be implemented in a physical machine. We need to get back to that.

I really hope someone has the guts to take this to court, maybe Motorola. I also wonder what effect the Bing Search/Maps Android apps that Microsoft wrote will have on the validity of their claims.

I cannot understand why people are so mad that some phones are coming without Google as the default search. I am pretty happy with Android (it is not as good as WebOS, but the hardware is much better), but I can't stand the fact I can't get rid of google search. Google is an evil company who only created Android to get more advertising revenue. I use it, but am doing everything that I can to cut Google and their evil empire out of the equation. I would rather use Yahoo search or Bing any day. BTW... Bing is actually more accurate.

actually, the android browser allows you to select whichever search engine you prefer & android phones allow you to install any search widget you like. It's those Bing branded android phones from Verizon that don't allow you to use google, even if you try installing a google search widget.

And yes, there are indeed parts of Linux that were established to have come from proprietary sources (Oracle, IBM, MS). And in the specific case of Android it is Microsoft technology. This Motorola suit is basically over the same items HTC and Microsoft executed a licensing agreement over. And the suit will in all likelihood end with a similar licensing agreement being executed by Motorola.

It should also be noted that this is very different from the completely meritless Apple suit. The central feature of many of the patents in question is ActiveSync. And Android does have pieces of ActiveSync baked into the cake. This isn't nonsense like trying to patent swiping a finger across a screen.

1. IBM is part of the OIN, the holding company that protects Linux.
2. At the time the Linux kernel was conceptualized, the Oracle "patents" did not exist. Go Google Sun Microsystems.
3. Microsoft claims the Linux kernel infringes, but in April of 2007 the Supreme Court explicitly stated its unanimous opinion that most of their patents had been issued "too readily and are likely invalid". We're all waiting for Microsoft v Red Hat,if only for the comedy circus that will follow.

Of course none of this has anything to do with Microsoft suing Motorola for code from Android, instead of suing Google directly.

And yes, there are indeed parts of Linux that were established to have come from proprietary sources (Oracle, IBM, MS). And in the specific case of Android it is Microsoft technology.

Repeating a lie does not make it true.

Are you aware that FAT-16, FAT-32, & NTFS are all proprietary technologies created by Microsoft that Linux implemented without seeking the proper licensing from Microsoft? It was those infringements by Novell, Tom-Tom, Red Hat, & many other technology vendors that use Linux that allowed Microsoft to get many cross-licensing agreements because Linux DID violate Microsoft's patents. If they didn't, they would have taken Microsoft to court and won. It was so one sided to Microsoft's case that all of them settled fast & out of court.

Repeating lies many times doesn't make it true. That's why we've got Wikipedia & the internet for. You can Google the stories. The facts are quite clear that Linux did indeed violate many of Microsoft's IP.

I'm not defending Microsoft at all. I think these lawsuits are abusive because it shows Microsoft's lack of true innovation lately. However, Microsoft did create these technologies & have every right to defend their intellectual property from infringement.

Are you aware that Linux based systems can function just fine (better actually) without ridiculous proprietary versions of a file allocation table or other slow, and universally recognized as garbage, file systems?

Or that Tom-Tom, Novell, etc. are software vendors and not Linux?


this had better not escalate or i will never buy another windows computer again... ANDROID TABLET FTW

If you want them to die so badly, then why are you CURRENTLY buying MS-Windows computers? (That is implied in your message)

"The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power."

Okay, now Microsoft needs to file a lawsuit with the following:
Apple because of their iOS products can do the same.
RIM because their Blackberry products can do the same.
HP because of their now Palm products can do the same.
HTC because their Android and Windows Mobile products can do the same.

I may be wrong here, but after leafing through all the Microsoft nonsense, a good number of the exhibits that they are presenting, have nothing to do with cellphones. It looks as though these patents were written so that no other COMPUTER operating system i.e. MAC could not use them. Microsoft couldnt have foreseen the cellphone market taking off like it has. There was something in there where it is illegal to patent "ideas" for future use, which it looks like that Microsoft is trying to take credit for every single cellphone developement ever made. Like I said, I could have misread.

Dear Microsoft: I hate you. (Sent from my windows 7 computer). Please die or I will never buy another one of your computers, this time I'm serious. Same to you Apple (Sent from my IPad). On a serious note, if you hate them so much STOP BUYING THEIR S#\*. Economics 101: no revenue= no company = no stupid a$$ lawsuits over ideas and gestures. You can easily replace proprietary software with open source, and it's free.(Sent from my linux pc)

LOL @ Motorola, as a Canadian I hate Motorola and I made the mistake of buying 2 of their stupid Motoblur phones and that they won't update 5 month old models and Motorola are extremely ignorant to customers when asking for support. On the other hand, WinMo phones kind of suck too and honestly I don't see Microsoft being any better than Motorola.

PS- typing this from a Linux PC. I remember Microsoft boycotting Linux in the late 90's. :)