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Microsoft insists it's open to Motorola patent settlement

With Samsung and Apple hogging much of the patent spotlight this week, Microsoft published a blog post on 31 July in which it insisted that it was open to a patent settlement with Google's Motorola Mobility. But there are conditions.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, and Horacio Gutierrez, the company's deputy general counsel, called for a deal that puts an end to patent litigation between both companies once and for all.

"Any approach that does not lead to the cessation of all the pending litigation will be short lived," they wrote.

The duo also said any deal "must be based on fair market rates."

The post comes shortly after a ban on Motorola devices in the US was scheduled to go into effect. Motorola, however, said it came up with a workaround to address the patent violation that prompted the ban, and its devices remain on store shelves. The ban was prompted by a May decision from the International Trade Commission (ITC), which ordered an import ban on Android-based Motorola devices that infringe on a Microsoft-held ActiveSync calendar patent.

Smith and Gutierrez took aim at Google, which recently completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The search giant, they said, "mounted a public relations and lobbying campaign deflecting attention from its refusal to honor its promise to standards bodies to license standards-essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Motorola.

Back in June, Motorola proposed a settlement that would end its patent dispute with Microsoft, but the Redmond-based company rejected the offer and again accused Motorola of trying to reach a deal via the press.

According to Microsoft, Motorola offered to pay Microsoft 33 cents (20p) for each Android phone using ActiveSync, and asked for a royalty of 2.25 per cent on each Xbox and 50 cents (30p) per copy of Windows for using its patents.

Motorola and Microsoft have clashed over how much they should pay to license each others' patents. Motorola is under investigation in the US and abroad for patent abuse. Microsoft was quick to point this out in its blog post and insist that it licenses its patent on fair and reasonable terms.

"Twenty-nine companies owning more than 2,400 patents essential to the standard license them via a patent pool, and more than 1,100 companies (including Google) are licensees," Smith and Gutierrez wrote. "These agreements show broad industry acceptance of our licensing rates."