A trial involving Microsoft and Google’s Motorola unit has begun in the USA and could clear up a common topic of contention in recent patent battles. The firms dispute how much should be paid for a licence to use innovations necessary to be able to offer industry standard technologies, known as Frand-type patents.
Google is claiming its rival should pay up to $4 billion a year for its connectivity and video coding patents, whereas Microsoft suggests a figure of just over $1 million a year. So pretty close evaluations then.
The case, which is to be heard in Seattle, could set a precedent for how such intellectual property rows should be settled.
Microsoft has suggested that Motorola’s pool of H.264 video codec patents were worth an annual fee of about $474,000, and its 802.11 wi-fi tech innovations about $736,000 a year, basing these figures on the market price of other patent deals.
Google, on the other hand, is arguing that the two firms should have tried to negotiate a deal based on the starting point of a 2.25% royalty demand, since other licences had been agreed on this basis.
Microsoft, however, apparently refused to discuss a deal on these terms and this prompted Motorola to file lawsuits in the US and Europe seeking to block several Microsoft products from sale on the basis that its rights had been infringed.
It would seem that it is high time the whole patent system is overhauled to enable companies to concentrate on innovation rather than litigation. Everyone seems to be suing everyone else at the moment, sometimes based on what at first sight appear to be such vague patents as to be laughable.