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Motorola Wants 2.25% of Microsoft's Surface Revenue 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-scratching-the-surface dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On the opening day of a patent trial between Microsoft and Google-owned Motorola Mobility, Motorola filed a brief (PDF) arguing that the WiFi tech central to the case is also critical to Microsoft's new Surface tablet. Motorola says royalties totaling 2.25% of all Surface revenues is a good starting point. They wrote, 'Microsoft's new Surface tablet will use only 802.11, instead of cellular or wired connections, to connect to the internet. Without 802.11 capability, the Surface tablet would be unable to compete in the market, because consumers can readily select tablet devices other than the Surface that have 802.11 capability.' Microsoft, of course, says this figure is outrageous, given 'Motorola's promise to standards bodies to offer access to the "standard essential" patents on fair and reasonable terms.'"
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Motorola Wants 2.25% of Microsoft's Surface Revenue

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  • 2.25% of nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:14AM (#41979291)

    unless someone shows good sales numbers for the surface

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:16AM (#41979305)

    Microsoft, of course, says this figure is outrageous, given 'Motorola's promise to standards bodies to offer access to the "standard essential" patents on fair and reasonable terms.'"

    They have - they offered access to the patents for 2.25% - all they have to prove to the court is that this is their standard opening offer to show that it is non-discriminatory and fair.

    If Microsoft want to play, they should offer back some of their FRAND patents to get the rate lowered. That's how the system is meant to work. Oh, but wait, Microsoft is fairly new to this type of hardware so probably hasn't got a lot to offer in this category.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:18AM (#41979321) Journal
    Microsoft is purposefully only selling the Surface in their own sales channels - own stores and online - explicitly so others can't report data about how it's doing. They want to tell us it's "sold out". They knew they had to do this in advance, or you would buy the thing at Target and Target would tell you that it's not selling.
  • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:24AM (#41979353) Journal

    It was Apple and Microsoft that started this war. Google is only winning the war that was brought to them. As they always have. It was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who said "I'm going to fucking kill Google. I've done it before and I can do it again." Back then Google was 1/30th their current size. Today it's more of a fair fight, as the two companies are about equal in market cap, but back then it was more of an existential real threat.

    Even today Google only sues back other companies that picked a fight.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:27AM (#41979387)

    Well, Microsoft were claimed to be receiving $15 per Android device. Ar $600 for a device, 2.5% would be $15.

    So what's the problem? Microsoft made claims that Android infringes just 6 dodgy patents. 802.11 is a core patent.

    http://www.groklaw.net/pdf2/MSvB&Nanswer.pdf

    Patents such as : "Loading Status in a Hypermedia Browser Having a Limited Available Display Area."
    Or "“Selection Handles in Editing Electronic Documents.”,

    I don't see the problem with this, they dish it out but they don't take it? Their sales of Surface devices will be far less than Android devices, so they'll pay a lot less.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:35AM (#41979457) Journal

    Not true. Microsoft sued Motorola Mobility (well known patent troll) because of FRAND patents.

    You are the one making untrue statements. Motorola Mobility has competing products in the market, hence it is not a troll by any stretch. They are offering their WiFi patents in a FRAND compliant manner at 2.25% to ALL licensees.

  • by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:36AM (#41979475)

    It was Apple and Microsoft that started this war.

    That's a stupid justification. If you're going to claim something is wrong if the side you dislike does it, then it is equally wrong if the side you like does it. Otherwise you're nothing but a hypocritical fanboi.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:38AM (#41979491)

    They also deserve anything they get with the ongoing extortion of Android/Linux 'patents' that they insist on NDAs to even discus. How that's considered remotely legal is beyond me, and I'm very disappointed with anyone paying them for that kind of extortion.

  • by Formorian (1111751) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:39AM (#41979503)

    Um MS started this. Read up at Groklaw. Basically Moto sent a proposal around 2010 I think, I forget exactly. They wanted 2.25% (as a starting point for negotiations, esp since MS doesn't have any FRAND patents, normally companies license at a much lower rate but that lower rate is due to cross licensing of standard patents or other patents essential to the device from both sides).

    MS didn't enter negotiations, they went to ITC and complained, and then alleged that Moto is not metting it's FRAND obligations. Then Moto sued in Germany. Germany ruled in their favor initially and imposed a ban. MS went to a seattle judge, who basically says he can overrule the Germany court, lifted the Ban, and says He'll set a fair and resonable price. I believe he ruled this way because his case started before the Germany case. I still think he's on Crack that he can overrule a foreign country judge, but w/e.

    Now I wish this judge wasn't as biased and would be like the judge in Wisconsin. Apple did the same thing against Moto against these Frand patents. The judge in Wisconsin saw that Apple was just using the lawsuit for leverage or if didn't agree with the price the judge set, use that price as a negotiating price after the lawsuit. She dismissed with prejudice. MS is doing the same thing. Yet Seattle judge, back yard to MS, blah blah blah.

    But Moto didn't start this war. They wanted to negotiate first, MS didn't want to pay/negotiated.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:44AM (#41979539) Homepage Journal

    If anyone is on Google's side in this, you're a bloody hypocrite.

    If Google is spending money to keep the patent system going, that makes me mad. But if Google is using the patents it holds to attack people who are attacking it with patents they hold, that's called fighting back, and they would have to be fucking stupid not to do it. In addition, they're only attacking people I hate. There are lots of other people "infringing" on the painfully obvious patents they hold, but does anyone here really believe Google is going to go full patent-troll and attack them too if they succeed with their present lawsuits? I sure don't. But I do believe that Apple or Microsoft will.

    This is different, and it's different until they behave otherwise. Motorola hasn't exactly been a saint in the past, so I'm willing to reserve judgment until this whole flap is over to see what they do next, but there is nothing inconsistent about Google's actions, nor is there anything inconsistent about rooting for them while they counterattack, and your bald assertions that there is does not make it so.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:53AM (#41979609) Journal

    Why can't they leave MS alone or at least sue them themselves?

    Actually, since Google have acquired Motorola Mobility fully; it is Google vs Microsoft.

    MS is the one not leaving Android alone. They are threatening Android OEMs into patent licenses for their ridiculously stupid patent portfolio. Many top OEMs like HTC recently, Barnes and Noble etc. have succumbed and are paying more money to Microsoft than to Google for using Android.

    So Google decided to acquire Motorola Mobility and take Microsoft head-on to prevent further damage to the Android ecosystem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:58AM (#41979641)

    a) Motorola is already Google's, so calling it "proxy" is a bit strange, but leaving this aside
    b) MS went around shaking down Android vendors over patent issues like FAT long names
    c) Said shakedown did raise quite a few questions like "What's Google doing to protect their partners?"

    Under which rock did you sleep?

  • by teg (97890) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:05AM (#41979707) Homepage

    It sounds like Motorola has patented using Wi-Fi on tablets.

    Are we really handing patents out for this?

    Yes, indeed. Motorola has got patents on WiFi technology on pretty much any device. But consider: Apple has patents on the external shape and icons of the iPad. That is infinitely much worse; and even worse is that Apple feels that 'innovation' is worth $20 per device copying the rounded rectangular shape.

    Actually, I think extortion on standard essential FRAND patents are far worse than trying to prevent someone from almost xeroxing the device. There are many ways to create devices (cell phones and tablets looked really different before the iPhone), but a standard is just that... a standard. And to get your patent included in a standard, you make promises that should be upheld.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:10AM (#41979747) Journal

    There are many ways to create devices

    Do you have a circular television or a triangular radio? What is so innovative about a rectangular shape that is slightly rounded at the edges? My Casio calculator 30 years ago had the same shape.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:19AM (#41979825)

    That's a stupid justification. If you're going to claim something is wrong if the side you dislike does it, then it is equally wrong if the side you like does it. Otherwise you're nothing but a hypocritical fanboi.

    If someone walks up to you and punches you, that's assault. If you hit him back while he's attacking you, that's self-defense.

    Apple and Microsoft have been using their patent portfolios aggressively. Google has been using its in self-defense and defense of its allies (Samsung). That's a substantial difference.

  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:44AM (#41980045) Journal

    Once you grow to a certain large size, you become even worse. That is just how it is.

    There's been a concerted effort to make it appear that way, but it's not true. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle etc have been far more predatory than most.

    Not every company is a bad corporate citizen, and we should recognise that with our purchasing choices. You do us all a disfavour by pretending they are.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @10:05AM (#41980247) Homepage Journal

    I think that GP was attempting to explain that Google has filed suit in self defense.

    You don't walk around downtown shooting everyone who gets in your way - that's murder. But, if you're assaulted while downtown, by some deranged fool who is trying to kill you - then you have the right to shoot him, in self defense.

    It's never "right" to shoot someone, but in some cases, it's not "wrong" either.

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @11:31AM (#41981017)
    You are absolutely right! And since the most predatory company in business history is Intel [wikipedia.org] I'm sure you will never use any of their products ever again...

    According to an engineer I know who worked for Compaq in their heyday. Compaq had developed a superior data bus in the 90's and Intel had requested access to it so they could optimize their chips to utilize it. They signed the NDA and several months later Intel introduced a motherboard with the bus integrated. Copmaq threatened to sue if they didn't pull the board or license the technology. Intel said go ahead and sue...Oh by the way we will no longer sell you CPU's. Compaq licensed the tech to Intel free of charge.

    Microsoft did something similar to Citrix [scribd.com] and STAC Electronics. [wikipedia.org]
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @12:50PM (#41982019)

    But consider: Apple has patents on the external shape and icons of the iPad. That is infinitely much worse; and even worse is that Apple feels that 'innovation' is worth $20 per device copying the rounded rectangular shape.

    That is a design patent, not a utility patent. They're nothing alike, except for the word "patent". A design patent doesn't cover an innovation at all, it covers the non-functional appearance aspects of a functional object. For example, the external shape and icons of a branded product that are not critical to how it functions but are characteristic of that product. A design patent is supposed to be narrowly-defined. Its function is not to prevent competitors from making a similar product, but rather to prevent competitors from making a knock-off of your product.

    For example, your average Android phone wouldn't infringe on an iPhone design patent. They look and behave similarly, but not the same. You can tell the difference. Now go to a market in China and pick up a knock-off iPhone. It looks exactly like an iPhone, it has the same UI widgets as an iPhone, and it's pretty hard for a casual observer to tell it apart from an iPhone. But it's not. That's a design patent infringement.

    Of course, how well this works in practice comes down to how courts decide individual cases.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @01:10PM (#41982317) Homepage
    If MS' patents aren't FRAND they can demand 50% if they want. The point of FRAND patents is stopping people from creating a standard and gouging everyone because they have to use it. It's not a standard you can ask for anything.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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