Skip to main content

Google spat with Microsoft & Nokia taken to EU

Google has filed a complaint with the European Commission, accusing Nokia and Microsoft of mobile patent abuse.

"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made", a Google spokesman said in a statement. "They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices".

In a statement, Microsoft called the complaint a desperate move.

"Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95 per cent of mobile search and advertising", Microsoft said.

A Nokia spokesman declined to comment.

In April, the European Commission formally opened a patent abuse investigation into Motorola, which is now owned by Google. The investigation was prompted by complaints from Apple and Microsoft, which accused Motorola of suing over "essential" patents rather than trying to work out licensing deals.

At issue is something known as FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing obligations, which are intended to keep major corporations in check and avoid abusive patent-related behavior. Basically, if a company holds a patent on a technology that is essential to a particular industry, they should make every effort to license that technology, even to major rivals.

Microsoft has been locked in a battle with Motorola on this issue. Just last week, a Munich court ruled that Android-based Motorola devices infringe on a Microsoft messaging patent. Microsoft said it hoped that decision would prompt Motorola to "join other Android device makers by taking a license to our patents".

Recently, Microsoft said that 70 per cent of all Android smartphones sold in the US are covered under Microsoft's patent portfolio.