Court Sides With Microsoft
in Patent Battle With Google

IP News and Information

Two of the world’s largest tech companies recently squared off in the courtroom and in the end, the Court sided with Microsoft instead of Google. Of course, as with any court decision, nothing is ever final until one party either accepts defeat or the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court and is either heard, and ruled on, or turned away. Google and Microsoft have been battling for several years over patents that Google purchased when it bought Motorola in an effort to fight off its rivals, including Apple and Microsoft who were taking aim at Android devices. However, Google’s plan didn’t exactly go as planned.

Jury Awards Microsoft Damages

Google envisioned the Motorola patents giving it an upper hand as it set out to file infringement lawsuits against Microsoft. However, what actually happened was that the patents ended up helping Microsoft receive a $14 million award form a jury when the case went to trial. Most recently, in July the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. So how exactly did that happen? How did Microsoft end up getting an award when it was the defendant in the patent infringement litigation suit to begin with? The problem for Google is that the patents they were using to claim infringement were actually a group of standard-essential patents, which the company was compelled to license at a discount rate.

Google Plays Hardball

Microsoft had integrated these industry standard technologies into its Xbox video game console and its Windows software under the belief it would only have to pay the going licensing rate of .555 cents or 3.71 cents per unit. However, Google decided to play hardball and it asked Microsoft to pay 2.25 percent of the selling price of every Windows computer and Xbox unit sold. When Microsoft didn’t respond in a timely manner, Google filed a patent infringement lawsuit. However, it was these very tactics that lead the court to side with Microsoft and blame Google for breaking the contract that was already arranged under the industry standards.

Court Tells Google That it Didn’t Play Nice

Of course, that didn’t sit well with the search engine giant and Google appealed the court’s decision, claiming it did not have the right to rule in such a manner and that Google did have the right to enforce its IP rights. But alas, Google has been rejected again as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the original ruling and noted several times during the trial that Google acted in “bad faith.” Of course $14 million is a drop in the bucket to both of these companies, but the ruling shows that Google made a mistake when it tried to use standard essential patents in its fight against one of its biggest rivals. It’s also a big PR win for Microsoft.

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