Google lawyer: Microsoft patent hype is because WP7 is failing

Nov 7, 2011
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Google's patent counsel has accused Microsoft of aggressively using patent licensing as a stand-in for product innovation, suggesting that Android OEMs have been pressured into cutting deals with Microsoft because the company is afraid its own products have been "marginalized." Lawyer Tim Porter told SFGate that he did not feel Android development had been impacted by the multiple lawsuits going on around intellectual property in mobile, but was concerned that "the more people get distracted with litigation, the less they'll be inventing."

"[Aggressively chasing licensing] is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past, with Linux, for example. When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they've built up to get revenue from the success of other companies' products" Tim Porter, patent counsel, Google

Last month, Microsoft signed a deal with OEM/ODM Compal which covers the manufacturer's production of Android and Chrome based devices. At the time, Microsoft struck out at critics of its patent licensing strategy, suggesting that "for those who continue to protest that the smartphone patent thicket is too difficult to navigate, it’s past time to wake up."

However, Microsoft also made what appears to be a direct attack on Google, referencing criticisms of the search giant suggesting it left manufacturers using Android to flounder in the fact of patent licensing. "We've stood by our customers and partners with countless agreements that contain the strongest patent indemnification provisions in our industry" Microsoft pointed out. "These ensure that if our software infringes someone else’s patents, we’ll address the problem rather than leave it to others."

Porter says Google has "said in the past that we aggressively stand behind our partners and want to defend the Android ecosystem" and confirmed that the sale of patents to HTCearlier this year - which the company immediately used to countersue Apple - was "definitely part of that." He argues that fiery patent battles have a negative affect on innovation, and that "damages, injunctions and remedies have to be proportional to the value of the invention."


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