Microsoft v Motorola and the cost of patents

Microsoft v Motorola and the cost of patentsIt's funny how these patenting wars work. Companies spend so much of their time accusing each other of stealing their ideas in the courts, while simultaneously earning a tidy living, and paying plenty back in return, via already agreed licensing deals.

The latest patent-related dispute to hit the headlines involves Motorola, with Google's latest plaything furiously denying allegations from Microsoft that it's demanding astronomical fees.

We're allegedly talking about a sum in the region of $4bn. We say "allegedly", as according to Kirk Dailey, Moto Mobility's VP of Intellectual Property, no such fee exists.

"Microsoft says we demanded $4 billion a year from them, and that’s simply not true.” Dailey insisted in an interview with AllThingsD. "We never asked for anything like that.”

Dailey claims the actual figure works out in the region of $150m annually, a small matter of 45 times lower than Microsoft alleges.

Getting down to the nitty gritty, it all relates to things like codecs. For example, back in February, Microsoft claimed that Motorola wanted $22.50 per Windows PC to licence use of the H.264 video standard.

It also accused MM of trying to shroud its figures in mystery:  “Motorola has refused to make its patents available at anything remotely close to a reasonable price”, the firm's legal counsel said.

Motorola, unsurprisingly, tells a different story, claiming it is in fact charging just 50c per Windows licence, and had been doing so for a year now.

The irony here is not lost when you consider that Motorola Mobility is now, effectively, Google. So you have this mishmash of corporate hate where Apple hate Microsoft and Google and Android as do Microsoft and there's no real alliance that can be sought between the three.

As a sidenote, we've just got in a review unit of the Motorola RAZR Maxx for review which we're looking forward to playing with and telling you about over the next few days. That 3,300mAh battery is reputed to be out of this world and it's a smashing looking phone.

We'll report back on this.

Read more about: AndroidWindows Phone

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 1 comment

satchef1  Jun. 22, 2012 at 18:22

Motorola, unsurprisingly, tells a different story, claiming it is in fact charging just 50c per Windows licence, and had been doing so for a year now.
Interesting defence. 'We're not going to deny that we ever tried charging $22.50, but we dropped the price over a year ago to a reasonable level because they started legal proceedings.'

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