Google files EU collusion complaint against Microsoft and Nokia
While the complaint has not yet been made public, Google has indicated that the filing is related to a deal that Microsoft and Nokia arranged last year, which transferred 1,200 standards-essential patents to MOSAID with the aim of creating an independent patent troll that could sue Android OEMs in an attempt to drive up the cost of making Android handsets.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this – Barnes and Noble attempted to raise a formal anti-trust complaint in the U.S. during their ITC complaint, alleging that Microsoft had done this intentionally to prevent smaller players from being able to successfully enter the smartphone and tablet market. The ITC dismissed Barnes and Noble’s complaint-as-defense-strategy, and now Barnes and Noble is working together with Microsoft on the Nook. Google says they are also sharing their complaint with U.S. regulatory bodies.
Without the details being made public it’s hard to know how likely Google is to emerge victorious, but the E.U. in particular has been investigating FRAND licensing abuse (including alleged abuse by new Google subsidiary Motorola). The tactic of transferring patents to other companies to use as lawsuit ammunition isn’t new either, as we reported late last year that Apple had transferred several patents to U.S. patent troll Digitude, which then used them to sue every mobile-related company that wasn’t named after a fruit.
Still, what Google is accusing Microsoft and Nokia of doing is of a different magnitude – the Apple-Digitude arrangement is distasteful, but Apple didn’t hand over FRAND-protected patents. If Microsoft and Nokia did hand over hundreds of standards essential patents that they had promised to make available to everyone at a fair price, for the sole purpose of not having to honor those agreements and letting proxy-lawsuits drive up the cost of competing against them… they could be in for a world of anti-trust hurt.
source: The Verge
1. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)
Wow, a real-world functional troll. I didn't know trolls can be utilized for business advantages. :p Anyway, I don't see anything illegal with that, correct me if I'm wrong but they aren't exactly breaking the law right? Maybe bending it (just like the Mafia).
12. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
just look at Microsoft's sins:
Microsoft lives just because of bribery! (governments, best buy, ....)
and of course don't forget about Nortel....deal of Apple + Microsfot + Oracle (Steve Jobs friend)
they just want us put into cave with their "innovations"
15. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)
Google is simply just trying to shift focus to Microsoft and Nokia instead of having the focus on their own (and Motorola's) anti-trust investigations going on in the EU.
Read it and weep with Google tears :-)
"The six-member decision-making body at the top of the ITC all agreed that there was no antitrust-related or other kind of patent misuse claim against Microsoft and Nokia. An entire set of 'patent misuse' theories including the Mosaid story was considered so frivolous that the ITC didn't even want to waste time on this at a trial at which an all-star team of antitrust lawyers wanted to square off with Microsoft."
And so on and so forth ...
16. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
Google bought Motorola just to defend himself against Apple and Microsoft ;)
18. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)
When you agree to participate in a standard with your IP (that is, you agree to make your patents available to all so it can be made essential to a standard) you agree to participate in non-discriminatory licensing to all competitors. If Microsoft and Nokia transferred those patents to another company for the express purpose of discriminating against the competition (Android OEMs) then they are very much breaking the law by acting in an anti-competitive manner.
Now is that what actually happened? We'll have to wait for more information.
2. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
All companies due things that are in the gray area to keep a competitive advantage Google included.
5. VZWuser76 (Posts: 2676; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
That's true, but going out and getting a third party to sue on their behalf is pretty shady. Basically they want to sue bit don't want anyone to know they're doing it. At least when Google bought Moto to shore up their patent portfolio, they were transparent about it, unlike some other things they've done. I really don't see why MS is shy about suing, they had no problem going after mobile companies & forcing them into a licensing agreement. Unless they're planning to start going for sales injunctions & don't want that on their resume.
7. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
It explains in the article why they're using a separate entity.
19. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Taco, you need to read:
'The tactic of transferring patents to other companies to use as lawsuit ammunition isn’t new either, as we reported late last year that Apple had transferred several patents to U.S. patent troll Digitude, which then used them to sue every mobile-related company that wasn’t named after a fruit.'
' transferred 1,200 standards-essential patents to MOSAID with the aim of creating an independent patent troll that could sue Android OEMs in an attempt to drive up the cost of making Android handsets.'
That is why it is being done!
13. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
no, google does this just because of payback ;)
3. christianqwerty (Posts: 463; Member since: 05 May 2011)
Google has Motorola and Microsoft has Nokia.
4. pongkie (Posts: 511; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)
didn't google did it first by using motorola?
6. VZWuser76 (Posts: 2676; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
Yes, but that move was more for protection against lawsuits. So far the only times they have used said patents is after they've been sued over patents. That way they can possibly come to an agreement. They're trying what the US did with Russia with nukes. Each side has weapons they can use, but hoping that they will act as a deterrent against all out war ie lawsuits.
8. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Google is known for trampling all over patents.
10. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)
Actually, on the only patent suit brought against Google over Android they were acquited of all charges you may recall. Not exactly "well known" IMO.
20. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Again, wrong as usual - post some facts or get booted.
23. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 7030; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
NO APPLE IS THE ONE TRAMPLING OVER PATENTS They think THEY OWN THE MOBILE TECH world. we wouldn't be having patent law suit if Apple haven't make a phone
14. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)
no, he just want to protect himself.....it was just a revenge
9. theBankRobber (Posts: 653; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
I will have to wait to read more on this topic before jumping the gun at who I think is at fault.
17. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)
That's totally reasonable - everyone should wait until more evidence is revealed (and/or the EU Commission has a chance to render a verdict).
21. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
P.A. you outta ban the troll known as TACO - most of his posts contain zero pieces of facts....
Show me where Google has transferred patents to another entity so that it can sue everyone else...
Google bought Motorola to protect Android from the lawsuits. MS and Nokia banned together to transfer patents to a third party to wage its war - very cowardly.
22. hepresearch (unregistered)
Well, well, weeeellll hehehehe... now that Google (Apple's target, by proxy, via Samsung and HTC) and Motorola (Microsoft's direct target) are decidedly merged, so is the Apple-Oracle/Microsoft-Nokia alliance! Afterall, aren't these the same guys who banded together to buy the Nortel assets to keep them away from Google? Aren't these all the same guys who have also sold large batches of these patents, and some of their own critical IP, to third-party patent enforcers? Dirty IP-wars looming... just like networkdood says! Two targets become one, and thus "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" for the old OG foes, Apple and Microsoft... together, they are the new 'IBM' of our day!
I don't think Google will be destroyed, but if Apple/Microsoft can make Android too expensive for Google to retain, whether through litigation or import restrictions or licensing enforcement, or whatever, then Google will shed the care of Android to somebody before it gets too expensive and impacts revenues from other aspects of their business. They could sell it to Sony... they've been getting a pass from the Apple/Microsoft monster as of late, and perhaps that is going as planned afterall. And... wait a minute, wasn't Sony in on the Nortel purchase, too?
Thus, Apple/Microsoft must also constantly punish Samsung and HTC for their involvement with Android until they go somewhere else... and that is what we are already seeing so far, while Sony has been the only major Android player to remain fairly unmolested by the big guys.
It's fitting together, like pieces of a puzzle...