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Google listed as defendant in Microsoft's Motorola patent suit in Germany

Microsoft has confirmed that it will add Google as a defendant in an ongoing patent case against Motorola in Germany.

"It became necessary to add Google to this particular case because Motorola maintains that it lacks sufficient information about actions occurring on Google's servers," a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. "We continue to hope Motorola will join the vast majority of Android device makers by licensing Microsoft's patented inventions."

The news was first reported by patent blogger Florian Mueller, who was at the hearing in Munich. According to Mueller, Motorola denied infringing on a Microsoft patent with the Android Google Maps app found on its devices, but did not specify how Google's server infrastructure works, prompting Microsoft to add Google to the case.

Microsoft wanted to know whether Motorola's German counsel will accept the change on behalf of Google or if it will have to be served in the US, Mueller said. That would delay the German proceeding, which is set to go to trial on 7 March 2013. Motorola said it would have an answer within two weeks.

Motorola declined to comment, and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes as a number of tech firms - including Google, Microsoft, and Motorola - met at the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva this week to discuss the fair and reasonable licensing of patents.

Mueller said this particular case was filed in April 2012, but Microsoft and Motorola have been fighting over a variety of patents in Germany for some time. Earlier this month, a German court sided with Motorola, finding that it did not infringe on an app-related patent held by Redmond.

But last month, a Munich court found that Motorola did infringe upon Microsoft patents, and granted Redmond an injunction against the offending products.

In July, a German judge found that Motorola's Android-based devices infringe on a Microsoft-held File Allocation Table (FAT) patent. Back in May, meanwhile, a Munich court ruled that Android-based Motorola devices infringe on a Microsoft messaging patent.

In the US, the International Trade Commission (ITC) in May ordered an import ban on Android-based Motorola devices that infringe on a Microsoft-held patent. That went into effect in July, but the Google-owned Motorola said it has come up with a workaround to address the patent violation that prompted the ban.