Motorola slams Microsoft patent ‘tactics’

Man in suit wearing red boxing glove

Motorola has bitten back at Microsoft after the Windows maker yesterday filed a a complaint with the European Commission over alleged abuse of standard essential patents.

In a blog post, Microsoft said Motorola was charging far more than it should for licensing of FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) patents and also slammed Google for not playing fair.

In particular, Microsoft was concerned about how much Motorola was charging for the video standard H.264, but the latter subsequently issued a rebuttal accusing Microsoft of hypocrisy.

Microsoft has simply reversed its position on FRAND in order to suit its current litigation strategy.

"Microsoft's complaint and blog posting ... are simply tactics in the patent battle that Microsoft initiated with surprise infringement actions against Motorola Mobility in October 2010 accompanied by press statements making clear the actions were aimed at Android," a Motorola spokesperson said.

"And Microsoft's complaint with the International Trade Commission sought injunctive relief against Motorola Mobility based on Microsoft's own standards essential patents. With its recent actions, Microsoft has simply reversed its position on FRAND in order to suit its current litigation strategy."

Motorola said it was open to resolving the current licensing dispute with Microsoft "in a mutually beneficial manner."

The mobile maker said it offered Microsoft the same FRAND terms it offered other licensees, but Microsoft rejected Motorola's prposals, "preferring instead to use litigation as its strategy."

"Microsoft has touted the value of patent licensing for its own patents, but a fair resolution requires that Microsoft also recognise the value of the Motorola Mobility patents it is using," the spokesperson added.

Yesterday, Google also issued a somewhat pugnacious response to Microsoft's criticisms.

"We haven't seen Microsoft's complaint, but it's consistent with the way they use the regulatory process to attack competitors," a spokesperson said.

"It's particularly ironic, given their track record in this area and collaboration with patent trolls."

Legal wars over IP, in particular FRAND patents, are getting increasingly heated.

Late last year Apple claimed in a court filing that Samsung was facing an antitrust probe over a potential abuse of FRAND patents against the iPhone creator.

Samsung had reportedly attempted to assert 3G-related patents covered by FRAND licensing commitments.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.