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Jury Finds Google Guilty of Standards-Essential Patents Abuse Against MS

timothy posted about a year ago | from the within-a-framework-of-law dept.

The Courts 278

recoiledsnake writes "A federal jury in Seattle ordered Google to pay Microsoft $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract for failing to license at reasonable terms standard essential patents covering wireless and video technology used in the Xbox game console. Motorola had demanded Microsoft pay annual royalties of up to $4 billion for use of patents that are part of the H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards, which are baked into Windows and the Xbox video game console. Microsoft said it was willing to pay royalties but not at the 2.25 percent of the product price that Motorola sought. We previously covered Motorola's exorbitant demands."

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Who cares (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44764907)

"Patents Abuse Against MS"

who cares

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44764939)

We should all care about patent abuses from any party and care about what the USPO clowns allow to be patented in the first place.

That is a general principle.

MS - yeah, fuck 'em

is my personal one

Re:Who cares (5, Insightful)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44765443)

This has nothing to do with the USPO.

Motorola filed the patents which is perfectly in their rights, however what they choose to do was try to extort a lot of unreasonable royalties and licensing fees out of Microsoft which thankfully the courts have found in favour of Microsoft. Yes Microsoft ain't no saints, but thankfully the courts are waking up and stopping this kind of anti-competitive bullshit.

The USPO is not involved in setting the conditions of licensing, royalties, or any other arrangement or agreement for two parties to share or exchange patent IP. A patent filed does not come with a set of conditions on how it should be used, shared, or what fee schedule is applied for royalties or licensing. I am tired of people ignorant of the patent process just throwing out stupid diatribes about the patent office and patents in general. Sure if the USPO grants a patent in the first place that is trivial in nature or duplicates existing work, then by all means slam the USPO. This case is not the time for that.

There is nothing wrong with a patent. Someone that "invents" something has full right to protect their IP. They have a right to be compensated for the effort, time and money that went into creating the idea. I don't care if its a trivial bit of nonsense, or some elaborate mechanical wonder, everyone has a right to invent and turn that into a money making enterprise. The alternative is communism where all your ideas belong to the state and you just get some stale bread for all your effort. Do you want to live in that communist state? Keep slamming patents and decrying for their absolution and everything to do with capitalism and democracy in general.

However what has happened to the humble patent today is they are now are used in a cold war of stockpiling of ideas in a direct effort to prevent competition. The company that succeeds today will have the largest patent portfolio and hopes that the only way for their competition to survive is to have to pay them obscene royalties, or go out of business. Companies like Apple rarely even share their patents, they just make so much obscene profit that they patent every little stupid idea that comes into their heads and hope that each one cuts a tiny slice out of the ability for their competition to create a successful product.

The patent has been weaponized.

There is nothing about the patent that needs to be changed, but the laws surrounding how patents are shared, exchanged, that is the business surrounding the patent, needs to change and its up to courts to start setting precedent that extorting ANY company using and anti-competitive pricing structures or withholding a patent that is necessary to support the standardization of products and services should no longer be tolerated.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765617)

The alternative is communism where all your ideas belong to the state and you just get some stale bread for all your effort. Do you want to live in that communist state?

That's nothing whatsoever like communism. It's also not "the" alternative.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765247)

Google: Now Certified Evil.

Re:Who cares (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44765335)

Motorola.

If you bought a company that did something prior to your buying it, are you evil?

In any case, Microsoft is the evil one in this case because, if you followed the case at all, you would have noticed that Motorola actually asked for a reasonable amount by industry standards but Microsoft didn't even attempt to negotiate and, instead, went straight to a court challenge arguing things that aren't quite even law.

Re:Who cares (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year ago | (#44765317)

As it turns out the courts care.

where is groklaw when we need it... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44764959)

with some real reporting

Re:where is groklaw when we need it... (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year ago | (#44765505)

Your message regarding the groklaw has been logged. Someone will be in touch if more information is required.

ANDROID BLOW MS FOR 15 PER!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44764967)

Which is more than 2.25 PERCENT!!!!

Nice summary (1, Troll)

jbernardo (1014507) | about a year ago | (#44764993)

Another example of the loaded, pro-MS language that has become the standard in Slashdot lately. :(

"Exhorbitant demands"? Really?

Re:Nice summary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765025)

Yes, even the court thought so.

They really were exorbitant for a Standards Essential Patent

Re:Nice summary (4, Insightful)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#44765117)

Can I ask about the FAT patents that are part of a standard (SD Card)? Why Microsoft is able to force OEMs into big cross licensing agreements for dumb patents like that?

Re:Nice summary (3, Insightful)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year ago | (#44765337)

Because they have not committed to a FRAND agreement obviously.

Re:Nice summary (2)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#44765489)

That is irrelevant, we are talking about "Standards-Essential Patents Abuse" and Microsoft is a member of the SD Association

Re:Nice summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765573)

It's entirely relevant. The FAT patents aren't Standards Essential and aren't licensed as such and are not subject to the same laws.

Re:Nice summary (2)

Agent0013 (828350) | about a year ago | (#44765127)

If it's a patent then it is a given monopoly to the owner of that patent to do what they want to. They can sit on it, not use it and prevent others from using it. How should there be such a thing as a Standards Essential Patent? That's just another example of how the patent system is broken in many ways.

Re: Nice summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765303)

If a group wants to come together and develop an industry standard, more often than not, there are multiple companies involved who hold key patents related to whatever is being standardized. If a company wants their patented technology included, they must agree to freely license that patent to any other company at fair and non-discriminatory rate.

It's just a legal construct in the same way that any patent is. Things would be much worse without them and there would be dozens of incompatible competing products, none of which would likely be as good as a standardized product using the best patents from each company.

Re:Nice summary (2, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#44765331)

If it's a patent then it is a given monopoly to the owner of that patent to do what they want to. They can sit on it, not use it and prevent others from using it. How should there be such a thing as a Standards Essential Patent? That's just another example of how the patent system is broken in many ways.

I have precisely the opposite reaction to yours. First, yes, nothing good can come from agreed vital standards with a barrier to use due to patents. All that emphasizes to me is that ALL PATENTS are EVIL, COUNTER PRODUCTIVE, and ANTI PROGRESS. They are an idea conceived to prevent moneybags from usurping all the profits from new ideas, that has ended up perpetuating exactly the problem it was intended to ameliorate. The patent idea is only broken in one single way: that it is implemented in law at all.

The only worthwhile patent is NO PATENT.

Re:Nice summary (1)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year ago | (#44765351)

By force of contract signed by the owner of the patent. You know the patent owner has a monopoly over the patent which includes the right to sign an agreement to license it under FRAND terms.

Re:Nice summary (1)

Imagix (695350) | about a year ago | (#44765457)

Because in order for that stuff to be considered for inclusion in whatever Standard they are talking about, they probably had to agree to license it, usually under FRAND terms (Free, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory).

Re:Nice summary (1)

Imagix (695350) | about a year ago | (#44765471)

Ermm...oops. that's FAIR, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory.

Re:Nice summary (4, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | about a year ago | (#44765315)

Actually, 2.25% was the opening request - the same opening request they made to Nokia, Sony, and a bunch of other companies. MS ran to the courts to complain rather than negotiate. Not sure how it's abusive to make an initial offer that's higher than you expect to get. Now, had Motorola/Google refused to negotiate that 2.25%, it might be abusive - but that's not what happened.

Re:Nice summary (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44765037)

Yes, 2.25% for these type of patents is considered exorbitant, typical royalty rates would be a flat rate of a buck or less per unit for a bundle of hundreds of these standards required patents. If everyone in a standard required 2.25% for the handful of patents they have that are included in the standard every single device would double or triple in price.

Re:Nice summary (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#44765073)

It's mostly escalation. Microsoft has been trying to damage Android's marketability by making patent demands to everyone. Motorola is now attacking Microsoft in the same way. Nobody takes the high road.

Re:Nice summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765123)

If everyone in a standard required 2.25% for the handful of patents they have that are included in the standard every single device would double or triple in price.

Not to be pedantic, but no, the price wouldn't double or triple. If every FRAND patent holder demanded 2.25 _percent_, manufacturers would be forced to PAY two to three times the price of a device each time it "sold" since the total royalties would be well (WELL!) in excess of 100% of the price of the device (since there can be hundreds of FRAND patents in some complex devices).

Re:Nice summary (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#44765381)

Wrong, because they would mostly even out. So say Samsung pay Nokia 2.25% and Nokia pay Samsung 2.25% and that then the balance is close to 0%, and everyone is happy. The people who are not happy, aka Apple and Microsoft who don't have FRAND payments are fighting it, meanwhile charging silly figures for trivial patents.

It's fair, reason and non discriminatory if you are charging everyone the same. So if Samsung pay the same 2.25% for the patents then Microsoft should just pay up.

Re:Nice summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765531)

Every mobile phone device would use a lot of standards, so from different pools. There is no cross licensing to be made on all these groups. in the end you would need to pay over a 100% on the sale price of a device, which is impossible.
A percentage charge of any patent is unreasonable.

Re:Nice summary (2)

drakaan (688386) | about a year ago | (#44765429)

Actually, the case is not about the amount. The case is about whether companies negotiating a patent licensing deal should have to negotiate, or whether they can get a jury to set a rate (or deny one) for them (after the court wisely decided not to do so [groklaw.net] ).

Microsoft was the company that *proposed* the 2.5% rate, and then had the temerity to call it exorbitant after Google accepted their offer.

Re:Nice summary (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about a year ago | (#44765619)

But then the price of the patent would go up too. Patents help innovation by making it cost 110% of the purchase price of the device in licensing, didn't you know?

Re:Nice summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765063)

"Exhorbitant demands"? Really?

Yes. $4 billion ANNUALLY for a standards essential patent that is covered by a FRAND agreement? YES! HELL YES, that's exorbitant.

Sorry to tell you but Motorola (and now Google) did not honour their FRAND agreements and attempted to leverage their patents as if they were not covered by FRAND agreements. Sorry that it happened against Microsoft.

Remove the company names - or better yet, reverse them - and ask yourself if you'd still have the opinion that you do. I'm willing to bet your love for Google is blinding you to reality.

Yes. The demands were exorbitant. Extremely.

Re:Nice summary (4, Insightful)

hij (552932) | about a year ago | (#44765153)

Yes, the demands were exorbitant. The problem is that MS decided to immediately go to court rather than negotiate. Usually companies go back and forth and settle on a price. MS decided to short circuit that give and take and instead went straight to a court in Seattle. MS has never been one to compromise with anybody, and now all of a sudden when they have to negotiate with large companies they throw temper tantrums.

Re:Nice summary (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44765365)

Well, it looks like their lobbying is paying off. Thi sis the same crap they've been pulling with Android 'patents' for years.

Re:Nice summary (4, Interesting)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year ago | (#44765405)

This is factually wrong. MS did negotiate. In fact the judge sent the parties to negotiate but obviously Google did not want money from MS but for MS to stop suing Android manufacturers. In this case they were expecting MS to trade patents worth millions for patents worth pennies (you may not agree with patents but this is the current law).

Re:Nice summary (4, Informative)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#44765161)

That would be a problem... ...if $4 billion weren't an initial offer that MS never bothered making a counter offer on.

Re:Nice summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765291)

Perhaps because they said "$4Billion? For a SEP? What kind of a mother fucking dick are you, Google? See you in court!"

Which lead to 'Google: Now Certified Evil'.

Re:Nice summary (2)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#44765451)

Ahem.
Microsoft sued at least half a year before Google acquired Motorola.

And by the way: that $4 billion is 2.25%-which is the same rate that Microsoft charges.

Re:Nice summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765525)

So making frivolously high demands is fine, since there is an unwritten expectation that there will be a counter-offer?

I don't like Microsoft or Google, but shitty bad-faith business strategies like the one Google tried deserve to be punished.

Re:Nice summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765551)

It is a problem because the court found that:

1. Motorola has legally bound themselves to use FRAND licensing terms.
2. The Court, Microsoft, and Motorola themselves have all agreed that making an offer that is obviously outrageously unacceptable is always a violation of FRAND licensing terms.

The court specifically found that the terms were about 2000 times too high, which is clearly unreasonable. Motorola made a dick move and acted surprised when they got slapped instantly. Note that this isn't their only alleged offense for this sort of thing right now.

Re:Nice summary (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44765375)

Motorola DID NOT ENTER into an agreement which is one of the points of this case. Google has not yet acquired Motorola and only Google was in the agreement in question.

Re:Nice summary (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44765419)

Correction: "had not yet..." not "has not yet..."

Ummm, ya (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#44765175)

2% of the console's price is pretty exorbitant for open standards patents. The whole deal with (F)RAND stuff is "Reasonable and Nondiscriminatory". Now you don't have to license your stuff under that model, but that's how open standards like MPEG-4 and 802.11 are done. Companies pool their patents and set up a standard, and the licenses are fixed. The idea is that anyone can license it for the same amount, and that amount is fair and reasonable.

The reason companies do that is to get their patents used and licensed. I mean if I develop some cool new video compression, but I won't set licensing terms, everyone has to come to me and I decide if you get a license, and if so what it costs, well that will hamper adoption. Many companies will give that a miss since they don't know why it'll cost them. However if it is all out in the open, then it is much more likely to get used and licensed.

Also a lot of standards agencies require it. If you want your IP to be part of whatever standard they make, you have to disclose it, and license it under RAND terms. You don't want to, then it is excluded from the standard.

Well, if you decide to do that, you can't then go and decide to try and stick it to a company you don't like. You can't say "Yes, all our stuff is available under this fair license for all to use, oh except for you, we don't like you so you pay more." Sorry, you gave up that ability when you decided to do the open standards thing and RAND licensing.

Hence, the court decision. Google wanted to play hardball with MS, but they were doing it with patents they'd said they wouldn't do that with. So they got slapped down.

So ya, exorbitant demands. Particularly in context of what we are talking about. Remember Google doesn't own H.264 or 802.11. They only have a small number of the patents on it. So if their share was like 2%, then total cost could easily be 10-20%. If that was the kind of money demanded for those standards, they'd not be used. Google just wanted to screw MS.

Re:Ummm, ya (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#44765437)

What if Motorola are charging Samsung 2.25% of the device's price for the same patents? Of course Motorola and Samsung have cross licensing of their patent portfolio so the real cost is close to zero, as Samsung are also charging Motorola something close to 2.25% for a patent license.

If Microsoft had been willing to enter into a patent cross licensing deal I am sure that that 2.25% would have effectively come to zero or close to zero.

How is it fair, and none discriminatory if Samsung, Nokia, Sony, etc. are now all paying more than Microsoft?

Re:Ummm, ya (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | about a year ago | (#44765441)

Would it your change your opinion if you knew that Microsoft's interpretation of FRAND over these patents is for them to pay zero to Motorola for their use? And that's what started this lawsuit in the first place - so far they have paid nothing.

Re:Ummm, ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765473)

2% can be fully acceptable... It all depends on what type of device it is......

Example:
Pure cellphone for $50 ~ 2%.. FRAND patents for having a cellphone... 2% of $50 seems ok...
Pure gamesystem for $500... say a total of 0.2% patent cost.. In this exampe it's mostly developed inhouse and they will own most patents used.

Building a combined cellphone and gamesystem for $550 where they first had the 2% standard-rate for the FRAND and then 0.2% of the gamesystem patents... Here a company should negotiate and get "10% of the system can be classified as a cellphone so lets pay 2% of 10% of $550"..

But going screaming to the court before trying to negotiate is Microsoft in a nutshell...

Re:Nice summary (1)

ZiakII (829432) | about a year ago | (#44765259)

"Another example of the loaded, pro-MS language that has become the standard in Slashdot lately. :( "

"Exhorbitant demands"? Really?


Being asked to pay 22% of your total revenue for a video codec is not exorbitant in your world?

Re:Nice summary (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about a year ago | (#44765329)

Not at all, revenue has nothing to do with what you should pay for a patent. Turn-over is the more important figure.

5% is usually the opening bid fÃr non-standard patents so 2.5% fÃr a FRAND patent is reasonable.

Whats unreasonable is that Microsoft did not even give an counter offer.

Re:Nice summary (3, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | about a year ago | (#44765357)

22%? um 2.25% as an opening bid with the normal ending point of 1.2% or 0% depending on cross licensing agreements. At no point was there a 22% offer on the table.

Re:Nice summary (1)

ZiakII (829432) | about a year ago | (#44765595)

"22%? um 2.25% as an opening bid with the normal ending point of 1.2% or 0% depending on cross licensing agreements. At no point was there a 22% offer on the table.

MSFT revenue for 2012 is 17.41 billion
Motorola had demanded Microsoft pay annual royalties of up to $4 billion

4 / 17.41 = 0.22975 = 22.975%

Re:Nice summary (1)

ZiakII (829432) | about a year ago | (#44765613)

Ah I read the revenue wrong that was Q1 (17.41 billion) = 2012 total was $73.72 billion. Which is still 5.5% which is inane.

Re:Nice summary (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44765379)

"Exhorbitant demands"? Really?

Every single smartphone (although this is not about smartphones) will be using many hundreds of standard essential patents. Even if a company has been in the business for a long time and has lots of patents itself, it will still be using many hundreds of standard essential patents of others. Now multiply "several hundred" by 2.25%, and if everyone made the same demands, then everyone would have to pay a few thousand percent of their revenue to the patent holders.

Now is this exorbitant?

As _some_ evidence that the demands were exorbitant: Whether you agree with the judge or not, any fines should be related to the value of the patents. Motorola / Google demanded billions, the judge gave them a fine of $14.5 million.

Re:Nice summary (1)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#44765605)

That 2.25% is for quite a few patents; it is per major patent holder.
Garbage in, garbage out.

Re:Nice summary (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44765507)

I guess it's true: MS has become the underdog and google has become "the man." Slashdot likes an underdog and hates the man.

Alternatively, someone still likes to troll and knows how to push slashdot's buttons with the pro-MS stuff.

Yawn (1)

return 42 (459012) | about a year ago | (#44765003)

In other words, one giant evil corporation misused a broken system to extort money from another giant evil corporation. USA! USA!

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44765151)

In other words, one giant evil corporation misused a broken system to extort money from another giant evil corporation. USA! USA!

And we all lose.

Microsoft makes money off Android, for what I suspect is patents they've never disclosed. Google was trying to make money from Microsoft.

In the end, we all pay more, and the market is locked up by large incumbents who won't let anybody else play in the sandbox.

If the intent of the patent system was to 'foster innovation', we're not seeing that actually happen.

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765203)

"patents they've never disclosed" is kind of a contradiction in terms. Usually the claim is that they haven't disclosed which patents are being cross-licensed.

Re:Yawn (2)

tinkerghost (944862) | about a year ago | (#44765415)

"patents they've never disclosed" is kind of a contradiction in terms. Usually the claim is that they haven't disclosed which patents are being cross-licensed.

"Patents they've never disclosed" is acurate. They go to companies using Android and say - "Linux uses our patents, pay us or else.", but they never disclose which patents Linux infringes on - they just take the money for a no-sue promise.

Re:Yawn (1)

pakar (813627) | about a year ago | (#44765519)

Hey... We got this bunch of patents here... Pay us a fee for using them or else we will find some obscure patent to sue you over!

Obama Says (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765007)

Not quite the sum Apple was hoping for, but something is better than nothing.

Doesn't Android pay MS royalties? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44765011)

I thought MS was making a killing off of Android sales because of their licensing deals. It would be pretty simple for MS to just say, "I have altered the deal, pray I don't alter it any further."

Re:Doesn't Android pay MS royalties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765165)

Everyone pays everyone else royalties, the trick of it is to price them low enough that you don't get sued for anti-competitive behavior. In this case, we're dealing with a medium scale product which has inclusion of two royalty inducing standards among its much longer feature list being charged the same 2.25% of MSRP that a $20 device that consisted of a video player with wifi access would be charged. If you still don't think a constant percentage of MSRP method is an unreasonable term for those two, imagine if a new car decided to use both as part of its overpriced "driver distraction system." $450 of a $20,000 car because someone decided to wifi it up to smartphones and play the new standard video format on the fold-down screen for the back seats.

Microsoft is one to talk! (2, Informative)

SpaceMonkies (2868125) | about a year ago | (#44765021)

"Microsoft has also fought numerous legal battles against private companies. The most prominent ones are against:
- Alcatel-Lucent, which won US$1.52 billion in a lawsuit which alleged that Microsoft had infringed its patents on playback of audio files. This ruling was overturned in a higher court.
- Apple Inc. (known as Apple Computer, Inc. at the time), which accused Microsoft in the late 1980s of copying the "look and feel" of the graphical user interface of Apple's operating systems. The courts ruled in favor of Microsoft in 1994. Another suit by Apple accused Microsoft, along with Intel and the San Francisco Canyon Company, in 1995 of knowingly stealing several thousand lines of QuickTime source code in an effort to improve the performance of Video for Windows. After a threat to withdraw support for Office for Mac, this lawsuit was ultimately settled in 1997. Apple agreed to make Internet Explorer the default browser over Netscape, and Microsoft agreed to continue developing Office and other software for the Mac for the next 5 years, purchase $150 million of non-voting Apple stock, and made a quiet payoff estimated to be in the US$500 million-$2 billion range.
- AOL, on behalf of its Netscape division. Netscape (as an independent company) also was involved in the United States v. Microsoft antitrust suit.
- Be Inc., which accused Microsoft of exclusionary and anticompetitive behavior intended to drive Be out of the market. Be even offered to license its Be Operating System (BeOS) for free to any PC vendors who would ship it pre-installed, but the vendors declined due to what Be believes were fears of pricing retaliation from Microsoft: by raising the price of Microsoft Windows for one particular PC vendor, Microsoft could price that vendor's PCs out of the market.
- Bristol Technology Inc., which accused Microsoft illegally withheld Windows source code and used its dominant position with Windows to move into other markets. A ruling later ordered Microsoft to pay $1 Million to Bristol Technologies (see also Windows Interface Source Environment).
- Caldera, Inc., which accused Microsoft of having modified Windows 3.1 so that it would not run on DR DOS 6.0 although there was no technical reason for it not to work. Some claim that Microsoft put encrypted code in five otherwise unrelated Microsoft programs in order to prevent the functioning of DR DOS in pre-releases (beta versions) of Windows 3.1. Microsoft settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum.
- Opera, which accused Microsoft of intentionally making its MSN service incompatible with the Opera browser on several occasions. Sendo, which accused Microsoft of terminating their partnership so it could steal Sendo's technology to use in Windows Smartphone 2002.
- Spyglass, which licensed its browser to Microsoft in return for a percentage of each sale; Microsoft turned the browser into Internet Explorer and bundled it with Windows, giving it away to gain market share but effectively destroying any chance of Spyglass making money from the deal they had signed with Microsoft; Spyglass sued for deception and won a $8 million settlement.
- Stac Electronics, which accused Microsoft of stealing its data compression code and using it in MS-DOS 6. Microsoft eventually lost the subsequent lawsuit and was ordered by a federal court to pay roughly $120 million in compensation.
- Sun Microsystems, which held Microsoft in violation of contract for including a modified version of Java in Microsoft Windows that provided Windows-specific extensions to Sun's Java language; Microsoft lost this decision in court and were forced to stop shipping their Windows-specific Java Virtual Machine. Microsoft eventually ceased to include any Java Virtual Machine in Windows, and Windows users who require a Java Virtual Machine need to download the software or otherwise acquire a copy from a source other than Microsoft.
- WordPerfect
- Zhongyi Electronic, which, having licensed two self-designed fonts to Microsoft for use only in Windows 95, filed suit in China in April, 2007, accusing Microsoft of using those fonts in subsequent Windows 98, 2000, XP, 2003 and four other Chinese-language Windows operating systems. Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled on November 16, 2009 that Microsoft violated the scope of licensing agreements between the two companies. The result of the verdict is that Microsoft has to stop selling Chinese-language versions of the aforementioned operating systems. Microsoft said it will appeal. One of the fonts in question may be SimSun.
Many other smaller companies have filed patent abuse and predatory practice suits against Microsoft.
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_litigation [wikipedia.org]

Check out the new Slashdot iPad app [apple.com]

Re:Microsoft is one to talk! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765597)

If you're going to copy and paste a wikipedia article, you're supposed acknowledge this with a link, chucklefuck! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_litigation [wikipedia.org]

FRAND (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year ago | (#44765033)

The moral of the story is to never license your patents as FRAND. Or, you know, fix the patent system.

Re:FRAND (1)

zrelativity (963547) | about a year ago | (#44765193)

I am sure a loaded gun was not held at the head of Motorola to participitate in the various Standards Bodies. Large corps such as Motorola/Google, MS, Apple, Sony, Sansung etc participate in these standards and want their IP included is to direct and leverage to develop products earlier than their competitors, and somethings that would interoperate with other (competing) products.

Rules are very simple, you disclose the IP you hold in the area, agree to RAND if you participate in creating the standards.

Re:FRAND (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year ago | (#44765361)

And I'm sure at the time they didn't realize that there would be a global patent war, either.

Re:FRAND (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44765417)

Licensing your patents under FRAND terms has more to do with what your innovation covers, in this case something that becomes adopted as a standard. These allow the fair use of the standard by competitors and drive the adoption of the standards and hence a monopoly. In this case it was about H.264 and 802.11 standards that that Microsoft was using that were patented by Motorola. What's not mentioned in this case is what other technology players are paying Motorola for use of the same patents. There's an excellent summary of the issues at the core of this case over at ip-watch [ip-watch.org] and what this means for FRAND patents in general. While people may not like the players in this case (Google v. Microsoft) it is significant since it may mean that FRAND licencors may not get as much for these patents in the future. This would include Microsoft who has quite a few FRAND patents. It may also mean that those who currently license these patents from Google now may want to go back and re-negotiate citing the ruling because I couldn't find any reference to another licensee and what they were paying, maybe they're paying more or less? If they're paying less, then Microsoft would certainly have more cause to object to what Motorola was trying to charge.

Another aspect of this case that isn't mentioned is that we all know Google doesn't like Microsoft. The battles over the the Microsoft YouTube app releases recently highlights that these guys play cat and mouse games all the time. As part of the FRAND case, Google was using stall and delay tactics while negotiating with Microsoft over the FRAND [fosspatents.com] agreement to drive up the possible damages they'd be awarded in this case. It just goes to show that "Do no evil" doesn't apply where patents are concerned with Google.

Re:FRAND (1)

jbernardo (1014507) | about a year ago | (#44765579)

Of course, you know that by quoting florian and the fosspatents FUD site you've just outed yourself as misinformed and completely ignorant of what had been discussed on patents in the last few years?

Re:FRAND (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44765495)

The moral of the story is to never license your patents as FRAND. Or, you know, fix the patent system.

A few years ago, a group working on the next html standards got a message from Apple, with Apple saying that they owned a patent that they believed would be infringed by the standard. There was a huge uproar against Apple back then for daring to own this patent.

Four things could have happened reasonably: 1. The planned standard gets changed. 2. The feature gets changed not to infringe the patent. 3. Apple is convinced by the working group that their patent isn't infringed. 4. Apple is convinced by the working group to donate the patent or offer it under FRAND terms. If Motorola was right method, in the last case Apple could now demand 2.25% from any product including a web browser. Seems very, very excessive.

Perhaps there should be a bit of summary. (4, Informative)

Brandano (1192819) | about a year ago | (#44765051)

As far as I know thins is the sequence of the events: Microsoft asked Motorola for a quote on a licence for the patents in object. Motorola quoted a 2.25% licensing fee on the product price. Microsoft sued motorola. Now, generally here someone acting in good faith would at least first complain that the fee is too much, and ask for a renegotiation. Microsoft just sued, as if this was their intention right from the start. (IIRC at this point Motorola countersued in Germany and won a temporary injunction on sales, that was overruled by an US judge. Apparently the US justice system overrules the european courts, but that's nothing new, I guess.)

Re:Perhaps there should be a bit of summary. (2)

PantherX (23953) | about a year ago | (#44765293)

And it is worth noting that this was Motorola, not Google. This lawsuit was in full swing when Google bought Motorola Mobility, so Google really just ends up paying the bill, even though they weren't involved initially. The article here is misleading, the CNET article that it links to is not.

Re:Perhaps there should be a bit of summary. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765359)

Maye Google shouldn't have been such a dick by starting at 2.25%?

Might have been a *slightly* better move in hindsight. Or even just common sense.

Re: Perhaps there should be a bit of summary. (1)

zevans (101778) | about a year ago | (#44765455)

Not sure of the European situation but in the UK if you attempted to sue without some level of negotiation first your case would be thrown out as vexatious.

Conversely if you sue someone on the basis they have ignored multiple reasonable proposals out of court the court will favour you heavily.

Re: Perhaps there should be a bit of summary. (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44765549)

Not sure of the European situation but in the UK if you attempted to sue without some level of negotiation first your case would be thrown out as vexatious.

On the other hand, in Europe Samsung has been threatened with major fines if they didn't stop trying to get money for FRAND patents.

Re:Perhaps there should be a bit of summary. (1)

FloydTheDroid (1296743) | about a year ago | (#44765543)

No, it's not that the US court overruled the European one.

Because injunctions in Germany are not self-enforcing, Motorola would need to post a bond and ask the court to enforce the injunction during the pendency of Microsoft’s appeal and invalidity proceedings involving the patents. Microsoft, however, almost immediately moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction before Judge Robart in W.D. Wash., seeking to enjoin Motorola from enforcing any injunction in Germany pending the outcome of the RAND breach of contract action. Judge Robart agreed and enjoined Motorola from enforcing the injunction in Germany, finding that allowing Motorola to enforce such an injunction before Microsoft had its day in court in W.D. Wash. would be inconsistent with Motorola’s RAND commitment. Motorola appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed Judge Robart’s decision.

pot, kettle (5, Insightful)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about a year ago | (#44765053)

in the mean time microsoft has no issue charging a similar percentage to android manufacturers

http://bgr.com/2013/05/01/microsofts-android-licensing-agreements-earnings/ [bgr.com]

Re:pot, kettle (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44765371)

Uh, nobody has any idea what MSFT charges android mfgrs. Everything in that article is just a guess.

Come again? (1)

Andreas . (2995185) | about a year ago | (#44765065)

Somehow I'm unable to interpret this article the way I should. Could someone give me a quick summary which is written a bit... easier? (now don't go kindergarten on me!)

Re:Come again? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44765235)

Google wanted lots of money, Microsoft disagreed.

Since the patents were part of a a standard, the jury agreed that Google was asking for too much money.

Re:Come again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765277)

Well, we would need to know which way you should interpret the article. Are you an MS shill, pro/anti patent nut, free software fanboy, etc? Please tell us more about you so we can deliver you what you need.

Re:Come again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765535)

This is ./, so who the fuck cares what the merits of the case are. MS are EVIL.

Re:Come again? (1)

zrelativity (963547) | about a year ago | (#44765499)

This is my simple version:

Motorola/Google demands $4B for use of use of some H.264 & Wifi patents by MSFT in XBOX and other devices

MSFT disagrees, will pay the license but at RAND rate since Motorola participated in the standards

The case goes to court in Seattle to determine what the rate should be

Motorola sues MSFT in Germany, trying to get an injunction to prevent XBOX sale in Germany.

Seattle court says the case is already in review and German court cannot make a judgement

Seatle court determines that the license should be just over $1M

MSFT sues Motorola/Google for breach of contract

Jury agrees with MSFT and gives them $14M

Re:Come again? (1)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#44765587)

Background:
Microsoft asked Motorola how much they wanted for their standard-essential patents (which are covered by a FRAND commitment) on H264 and 802.11; Motorola quoted them 2.25% as an initial offer (for context, this is how much Microsoft charges for patents on Android devices). That worked out to $4 billion.
Rather than counter-offer or negotiate, Microsoft filed a lawsuit right away.
(While the lawsuit was in process, Google acquired Motorola. Some people are misrepresenting that bit.)
Outcome:
Microsoft got awarded $14.5 million, on the grounds that 2.25% was not reasonable.

Misleading or false. (4, Insightful)

idunham (2852899) | about a year ago | (#44765105)

Motorola requested royalties up to $4 billion, sure.
But "demanded" does not reflect that this was their initial offer.
Standard practice for licensing is
1-owner offers to license for $x
2-potential licensee offers to pay $y
3-owner lowers price
4-potential licensee raises offer
5-haggle over what is covered and what it's worth
The impression given is that this was after step 5.
It actually was after step 1; Microsoft sued before they made a counter-offer.

Re:Misleading or false. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765463)

When $x > (a ridiculous amount){
goto court
else negotiate
}

Re:Misleading or false. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#44765497)

Got any proof of that? Several people in these comments have claimed that MS never made a counter offer, so please back that up - reading the court documents gives a whole different impression on the negotiations in that regard...

Re:Misleading or false. (1)

Because I Can (1595733) | about a year ago | (#44765557)

But "demanded" does not reflect that this was their initial offer. Standard practice for licensing is [...]

Fair enough. However keep in mind that the argument was over a standard's essential patent where FRAND applies. The "practice for licensing" was agreed upon long before your step 1. I assume that the standard's body that issued the standard would not have accepted the patented technology as part of the standard if Motorola had not explicitly agreed to license the patent freely to all and at reasonable rates. Four billion dollars or 2.2 percent per unit does not seem at all reasonable even as a starting point for negotiation.

Profits on video and 802.11 devices are, in my opinion, razor thin. Two percent may very well be more than the total available with a consumer device. Maybe not so for Windows. But probably so for XBOX.

The whole patent war thing that seems to be the way business is done this decade sort of turns my stomach. Microsoft and Motorola/Google both need a good slap up side the head.

Missing Groklaw (4, Insightful)

martyros (588782) | about a year ago | (#44765119)

I really miss Groklaw's coverage and analysis of this whole thing.

Re:Missing Groklaw (0)

asifyoucare (302582) | about a year ago | (#44765483)

Yes, if only Groklaw still existed and was covering this.

They do and they are [groklaw.net]

Re:Missing Groklaw (1)

martyros (588782) | about a year ago | (#44765601)

That's a post from August 13, about the ruling going into this trial -- not about the actual trial or the verdict itself, which is what this article was about.

Re:Missing Groklaw (1)

Formorian (1111751) | about a year ago | (#44765611)

No they aren't. As of Aug 20th 2013 they no longer are covering anything.

Read the front page of Groklaw. That's an old story you linked to. Nothing to do with the current story that the slashdot summary is linking to.

Unfortunately, now you only have the MS paid shrills covering the story. Groklaw was my goto place for stuff like this. It's truly a travesty that it's not going to keep going on.

Re:Missing Groklaw (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#44765635)

Yes, if only Groklaw still existed and was covering this.

They do and they are

No. They did and they were. Unfortunately groklaw is not updated anymore. Maybe PJ changes her mind, I would hope so.

On the other hand, I think that some groupthink had developed on groklaw where somehow the merits of patents very much depended on who was owning them. There were the good people who only used patents to defend themselves against evil people, and there were the evil people who were evil to use patents to fight back against the good people.

Google or Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765141)

The headline says Google was ordered to pay, but the article talks Motorola...

Re:Google or Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765261)

Google acquired Motorola Mobility in 2011. This suit was initiated prior to that.

Re:Google or Motorola? (4, Informative)

devjoe (88696) | about a year ago | (#44765295)

The missing information is that Google bought Motorola Mobility, [google.com] the Motorola unit involved in this case, in 2011.

Both... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765345)

Microsoft filed this suit in 2010, Google bought Motorola Mobility (and the patents and lawsuits that come with them) in 2011.

Tuppe666 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765155)

Google. google. GOOGLE! Google GOOD! Chromebook fap fap fap GOOGLE! GOOOOGLE!!! (Made in USA) Do no evil.

Microsoft lol. derp herp derp. Evil. lol Sheeple. Microsoft. Dyeing. Microsoft.

Robert Rankin

FOSS has the answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765213)

http://www.fosspatents.com/2013/09/motorola-wanted-free-license-now.html

Go read the write up,

"The reputational cost of this finding far exceeds the $14.5 million damages verdict. And it's also a clear signal to other standard-essential patent (SEP) holders: there's a potential liability if you renege on your promises, and damages could be much greater in cases in which someone actually does obtain and enforce injunctive relief, or in which an implementer, at point blank, bows to threats. "

Steve Jobs - "Google's 'Don't Be Evil' Mantra Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765219)

BS"

All I can say about this is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44765369)

ROFLMAO!!!!

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