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German court ruling could force Google to make significant changes to Android

Posted: , posted by Alan F.

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German court ruling could force Google to make significant changes to Android
According to FOSS Patents, a decision in German court in favor of Microsoft, could force Google to make major changes to its Android OS. The Munich I Regional Court found that Google's wholly-owned subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, infringed on Microsoft patent EP1304891 relating to  "communicating multi-part messages between cellular devices using a standardized interface". The court also awarded Microsoft with an injunction for which Google can put up a 25 million Euro bond ($31.5 million USD).

The problem for Google is that the patent deals with functions controlled by the operating system and unlike previous injunction rulings against Motorola Mobility, this patent ruling cannot be worked around without serious modifications to Android. Apps that use the Android  messaging layer would need to be re-written and some functions that app developers used to get from Android will have to come from the apps themselves. And the Microsoft patent does not qualify for a FRAND designation which would allow Motorola Mobility to easily get a license for the patent without some tough negotiating with Microsoft.

Motorola Mobility might be able to get revenge by pushing for a ban on Microsoft's Xbox 360
Motorola Mobility does have some leverage here. While a preliminary injunction in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington prevents the Google owned subsidiary from enforcing a pair of German injunctions it won related to the H.264 video codec standard, Motorola Mobility does have a recommendation from the ITC that could lead to an import ban of Microsoft's Xbox 360. But even there, Motorola Mobility itself is unsure if the preliminary injunction issued by the Washington court also prevents them from blocking the video game console from entering the States. And the ITC merely gave Motorola Mobility a recommendation, not a ruling.

The legal issues here are getting to feel like that huge entanglement of AC cords that seem to be twisted around each other. Just the other day, Google won a patent case against Oracle while a few days ago Motorola Mobility had a import ban issued against it from the ITC for Android devices that infringe on another Microsoft patent. Industry-wide talks on resolving the issues and signing licenses calling for royalty payments would be the answer because if these legal problems continue, soon one won't be allowed to ship handsets anywhere.

source: FOSSPatents

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