Microsoft and Google finally drop patent disputes


Rhiannon Williams

October 6, 2015

Google and Microsoft have called an end to years of legal battles, claiming the pair may collaborate on future projects

Microsoft and Google have dropped all patent infringement litigation against each other, marking the end of five years of bitter legal battles.

The companies announced plans to cease 18 patent disputes across WiFi, mobile phone and video game technologies in Germany and the United States.

Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers,” the companies said in a joint statement. No financial details were disclosed.

One of the biggest cases involved Microsoft’s complaint that Google’s Android mobile operating system had stolen its technology relating to long text messages being broken before being reassembled on the recipient’s phone without paying due royalties. In another example from 2010, Microsoft claimed Motorola, later acquired by Google, had breached its obligation to offer reasonably priced licenses to its wireless and video patents used in Xbox systems.

Microsoft, founded in 1975, has often been criticised for being slow to shift its focus to mobile, concentrating on its core desktop computing during the rise of smartphones. Android, released by Google in 2008 and which runs on handsets created by the likes of Samsung and LG, accounted for around 82.8pc of the smartphone market in Q2 2015, according to market intelligence firm IDC.

However, this does not prevent either company from taking future legal patent action against each other in the future as the pair will continue to make products which compete with one another, a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed.

“Given that software patents are often notoriously ambiguous, lawsuits tend to become drawn out affairs that can last years,” said Dr Aleksi Aaltonen, assistant professor of Information Systems at Warwick Business School.

“However, in a fast-moving industry both sides may find that a lawsuit and the often retaliatory counter-lawsuit no longer serves a meaningful purpose and decide to stop wasting resources on the battle,” Dr Aaltonen added.

Apple and Samsung similarly dropped more than 40 patent disputes against each other outside of the US in 2014, including lawsuits in Britain, France and Spain, although action continued in American courts.

This article was written by Rhiannon Williams from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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