Linked by David Adams on Mon 19th Mar 2012 01:58 UTC, submitted by anda_skoa
Legal Notorious competition law offender Microsoft has asked the EU's competition department to look into Motorola's behavior regarding patent licences vital for h.264 video. Microsoft complains that Motorola doesn't play by the usual rules and wants to decide by itself how much they want to charge for patents it owns. According to Microsoft, acceptable behavior for patent owners is to licence patens vital for industry standards at rates of single-digits-cents per device and ask for double-digits-cent amounts only for patents not necessary for implementing such standards. Since according to Microsoft's complaints at least some of the patents abused that way are related to h.264 video encoding/decoding, one has to wonder how much MPEG LA's ensurance of patent safety is now worth.
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Single Digit Cents vs Several Dollars
by dionicio on Mon 19th Mar 2012 03:16 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

As I can remember Microsoft
is charging several US dollars
for every Android device..

?

Reply Score: 7

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

It's always nicer to make others eat crap, than to be forced to eat it. And as always, in these circles, winning doesn't just mean to be sure you win, it's also about making sure the other looses. MS has always taken very badly when anyone wanted to treat them as they treat everyone else.

Reply Score: 11

ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

+1

If I was a judge, I'd laugh them out of court!

Reply Score: 2

cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

The difference is that Microsoft is not asserting "standard essential" patents against Android. And during the development of the MP4 standard, Motorola willingly agreed to license its MP4 essential patents for a fair price. And 22.5$ for a 1000$ laptop is everything but a fair price.

Even though the whole thing is about Motorola retaliation against Microsoft, combined with Google attempt at protecting Android, in front of the law, the bad and misbehaving guy is Motorola, which is abusing FRAND patents.

Reply Score: 3

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

The difference is that Microsoft is not asserting "standard essential" patents against Android.

Oh but they might be, we just don't know thanks to the secretive way in which Microsoft is conducting their protection racket.

All the patents Microsoft are threatening others with are undisclosed - meaning it is neither possible to work around said patents nor research into them without going through the entire court process. Furthermore MS are forcing companies that do pay into their loyalty scheme to sign a NDA meaning that every other company is equally left out of the loop.

So some of MS's patents might be just as essential for all we know.


And during the development of the MP4 standard, Motorola willingly agreed to license its MP4 essential patents for a fair price. And 22.5$ for a 1000$ laptop is everything but a fair price.

$22.5 per $1000 laptop is unfair yet $15 per $300 device is?
Using your figures Motorola is taking just 2% while MS is taking 5% and refuse to publish the patents in which Motorola are being charge for.

Furthermore, MS's fee is identical to the cost of Windows Phone 7 licensing. So Redmond actually make more money off the back of Android sales than they do for WP7 yet have contributed absolutely nothing towards Android development nor have disclosed why they are legally entitled to any royalties at all.


Don't get me wrong, I think in an ideal world Motorola shouldn't be charging as much as they do on MPEG-related licenses - particularly not ones covered by FRAND. However if you're comparing like for like between Motoroloa and MS, then Microsoft easily come off looking the worst for patent bullying.

Reply Score: 12

Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

All the patents Microsoft are threatening others with are undisclosed - meaning it is neither possible to work around said patents nor research into them without going through the entire court process.


Wouldn't the solution just be for Goggle to sell their own Android phone/tablet. Microsoft would then have to deal with Google directly - "You infringe our patents, blah, blah, blah" ....

They'd then have to disclose what the offending patents are. And with that information, Google could just modify Android and Microsoft wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Reply Score: 2

TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Not really. Microsoft might not sue Google who has the money to fight this forever. This is about stifling competition, not about who is right or wrong.

Reply Score: 3

kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

" Wouldn't the solution just be for Goggle to sell their own Android phone/tablet. Microsoft would then have to deal with Google directly - "You infringe our patents, blah, blah, blah" ...."

Isn't Google already doing that with Motorola? Motorola refused to pay a cent to Microsoft when they were approached for the usual Android fee (and that stance continues under the Google leadership), so Microsoft was forced to reveal the patents they were asserting. So, we should focus on how that Microsoft vs Motorola court battle regarding Android patents is going.

Edited 2012-03-20 09:30 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

The difference is that Microsoft is not asserting "standard essential" patents against Android.


Patents include file naming in the de‐facto system used by digital cameras… pretty essential imo.

Reply Score: 5

smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

Patents include file naming in the de‐facto system used by digital cameras… pretty essential imo.


do you even own a camera?
i've yet to see a long filename dropping out of one of those

all i see is dsc_1234.jpg, which is plain old patent-free 8.3

Reply Score: 3

Comment by gus3
by gus3 on Mon 19th Mar 2012 03:29 UTC
gus3
Member since:
2010-09-02

Pot, meet kettle...

Reply Score: 4

Hmm
by Lorin on Mon 19th Mar 2012 05:58 UTC
Lorin
Member since:
2010-04-06

So then Microsoft can expect to ask us for cents to use Windows since it will be vital in order to run machines that will require a signed OS

Reply Score: 1

All of this...
by JAlexoid on Mon 19th Mar 2012 09:48 UTC
JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

Motorola is definitely abusing their power and most likely violating FRAND. But as one Micosoft supporter told me - "Don't hate the playa, hate the game".
But to stay consistent - <insert random anti-Motorola hate rant here>

But this is quite a bit ridiculous coming from Microsoft. They are using the de-facto standard "long-filename in FAT" patent to bash their "opponents". Or just skip the FRAND rules for standards, see exFAT and SDXC (http://blog.linuxtoday.com/blog/2009/08/some-answers-fr.html & https://www.sdcard.org/developers/overview/capacity/)

one has to wonder how much MPEG LA's ensurance of patent safety is now worth

Absolutely nothing, as it was when they came outwith it first time. I said it to the proponents, there are other patents than those that MPEG-LA members provide. They have most, but not all. Problem there was, that some people wanted to believe in it so much that they just ate it up (see Ars).

Reply Score: 5

RE: All of this...
by Beta on Mon 19th Mar 2012 11:37 UTC in reply to "All of this..."
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Motorola is definitely abusing their power and most likely violating FRAND.

And you know this how? These are just allegations, RTFA.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: All of this...
by JAlexoid on Tue 20th Mar 2012 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE: All of this..."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Did someone change the meaning of "most likely" to "definitely"?

Reply Score: 3

RE: All of this...
by anda_skoa on Mon 19th Mar 2012 17:30 UTC in reply to "All of this..."
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07


"one has to wonder how much MPEG LA's ensurance of patent safety is now worth

Absolutely nothing, as it was when they came outwith it first time. I said it to the proponents, there are other patents than those that MPEG-LA members provide.
"

If I understand the article correctly this is even worse.
It seems that Motorola is asking for compensation for intelectual property that MPEG LA claims to licence as a package.

If that is true, then MPEG LA's licence is worse than worthless, because a licencee would pay for it and still be liable for paying to the actual patent holders.

I mean Microsoft wouldn't make such a bug fuss about it if this were about patents unnecessary for h.264, right?

And all patents necessary for h.264 can be licenced through MPEG LA, right?

Reply Score: 2