back to article Microsoft-Motorola patent row: Google wants $4 BEELLION a year

Google has suggested that Microsoft should pay around $4bn a year for the wireless and video patents of Motorola that Redmond uses in its Xbox and Surface fondleslab. An expert witness at the trial, originally between Microsoft and Motorola but now including new Motorola Mobility owner Google, testified that Microsoft would make …

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WTF?

Wireless

Assuming that patent makes up part of the wi-fi standard and for some reason isn't covered by FRAND, MS seem to be suggesting that the patent is worth (annually) $0.01 per xbox sold (having sold around 100 million).

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Re: Wireless

By that calculation, Google reckons it is worth $40 per xbox.

Both figures seem a bit extreme, really. It'll be interesting to see what the judge thinks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wireless

"Assuming that patent makes up part of the wi-fi standard and for some reason isn't covered by FRAND, "

It's all FRAND.

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Re: Wireless

FRAND != FREE or SUPERCHEAP, whatever MS and Apple might think. That is the sword they live by, why to be so scare of it now?

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@eulampios

Actually, there are caps to the amount of money the grantee of a FRAND license has to pay. So, yes, "FRAND" really does mean "super-cheap".

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@AC

tell to the Redmond lawyers, they kind'a assume zero and continue not to pay ANYTHING. Don't know much specifics of the MS vs Moto case here, however, Apple vs Moto, Google offers all-patent for all-patents aut nihil deal. Otherwise, the thermonuclear war must go on.

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Surely...

If you are going to negotiate a price for licensing intellectual property it would make sense to do that before adopting it and shipping it in your products, otherwise surely you are over a barrel. Personally I hope Google get enough money to give Steve Ballmer a nose bleed!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely...

Except consumers will be the ones who end up paying... still as happy?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely...

Then again, Google simply bought these patents, making them little more than your run-of-the-mill patent troll

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Holmes

Google being a troll

Something Microsoft would never do over something like maybe Android phones with mystery IP in them.

I wonder if they make around $4Bn a year from that trolling they'd never do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely...

Too right. It seems patents are like investments which you buy hoping to make a return on. They're not the protection of ideas for the start up companies that they were intended to be.

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Re: Google being a troll

A troll trolling another troll is not a troll after all. Don't you get that?

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Re: Google being a troll

"A troll trolling another troll is not a troll after all. Don't you get that?"

Well you can say that but what makes it true? If I say a throwing excrement at another person throwing excrement is not actually throwing excrement, would that suddenly be a true statement? It's just more excrement even if you choose to support one of the parties throwing it.

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Re: Google being a troll

let there be no "excrement throwing' at all or every thrower should expect some excrement on his/her face. Some really bad excrement on the face of MS, Apple and Oracle is the only means to make them refrain from throwing excrement on the faces of others. Making the latter three eat the excrement of their own might even further expedite the advent of an excrement-free world.

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Re: Google being a troll

Wow. You've really misunderstood the point of the analogy. So you now agree that both sides are engaged in the same activity?

As to the Eye for an Eye approach you advocate of punitive charges, that just creates a barrier to entry for any new players and entrenches the existing big players, because costs rise and outside players can't break in any more. Some of us would prefer the market to stay open and competitve, rather than seeing huge fees charged for licences because big players want to punish each other, as you say they should.

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@h4rm0ny

No, it's you that misunderstand it. MS, Apple are sighted routinely resorting to using the muddy patent system. In this pretty unfair and hypocrite world where you can patent "rounded corners", "long exFAT filenames " and other obvious stuff and then extort millions or even billions with them from more successful competitors, why get even more hypocritical to now call for the true Christian, a la Leo Tolstoy's behavior? Remember MS to shamelessly approach Android manufacturers, smaller companies most of the time, and extort money from them? Only one stood up and ... got 300 million of investments

Both MS and Apple have the Google's offer on their plate to stop all those wars at once and negotiate about all WMA at their hands.

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Re: @h4rm0ny

"No, it's you that misunderstand it."

Let's demonstrate. You wrote that someone (patent) trolling another party that was (patent) trolling, is not trollnig them. I disagree. I say that this is now clearly two people indulding in patent trolling. I tried to convey this to you in a more colourful way, hoping to show how illogical your statement was, by likening it to one person throwing excrement at another person who is also throwing excrement. The fact that one is already doing so doesn't make the latter not doing so. It's just two people throwing excrement.

You then responded with a reply saying it was okay for the second party to indulge in this behaviour. I never said anything about justification. I just said it was ridiculous for you to say that they weren't indulging in that behaviour.

And as your second post was a longish justification for why they should indulge in that behaviour, it seems you have now conceded that they are.

"Remember MS to shamelessly approach Android manufacturers, smaller companies most of the time, and extort money from them?"

What was the money wanted in exchange for?

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Re: @h4rm0ny

You pretend not getting, do you. The whole idea of Google using Moto's patents is to MAKE MS and Apple stop their aggression. As I said before and you can read in the docs Google wrote to Apple, the offer is "I stop all of my attacks if you stop all of yours. Period". No, both Apple and MS want to continue with the situation where they set higher prices on their crappy obvious patents and really low prices on the non-so-obvious FRAND patents of Moto's.

"Eye for an eye" is translated for you into "you touch my own or any of my friend's eye, I'll poke yours and kick you in the groin and rip your ear, or punch you in the face, so you don't engage in this risky business" And this is totally justified

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Re: @h4rm0ny

"You pretend not getting, do you. The whole idea of Google using Moto's patents is to MAKE MS and Apple stop their aggression. "

I'm not pretending anything. I simply believe that if Google saw the opportunity to sting MS for $4bn they'd try to get that money regardless of any good faith action on MS's part. That's just business. Can you honestly see the board of Google saying to their shareholders: "we passed over this $4bn opportunity because we think MS are okay." They are rivals. They fight. You suggest that Google would be happy to accept free use of MS's patents in exchange for free use of their patents and think that it's wrong of MS to not agree to this. But do you know what MS patents are worth and what they are? No you do not. So how can you say that it is fair to do a straight swap? Do you think sueing someone for patent infringement is intrinsically wrong? If so, then Google are doing something wrong by you. If not, then what are your reasons for condemning MS for charging Google for use of theirs in the first place?

"Eye for an eye" is translated for you into "you touch my own or any of my friend's eye, I'll poke yours and kick you in the groin and rip your ear, or punch you in the face, so you don't engage in this risky business" And this is totally justified

I'm not sure which is supposed to be which party in the above. But your confidence in knowning how much the relevant patents held by each side are worth in dollars (worth translates into how much injury is inflicted in your analogy) seems unwarranted to me - unless you happen to have a lot of knowledge that the rest of us don't? We know how much MS are charging Google so we can put a value on that. We don't know how much Google's are worth, because this hasn't been settled or gone through court. We just know how much Google claim they're worth. And Google are no less unbiased in this matter than you are.

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Stop

Re: Surely...

isn't this the case where Moto specifically excluded MS & Apple in their contracts with the likes of Qualcomm who happen to make the chips that go in the Xbox or Apple products? So instead of getting patent exhaustion via the chip licence, Moto wants to pursue this avenue of making a high claim on what was a FRAND patent. In other words, if you're a small fry you get patent exhaustion rights, if you're a big fish you gotta pay way over the odds.

Seems patently unfair business practice to my eyes.

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Holmes

Re: @h4rm0ny

" I simply believe that if Google saw the opportunity to sting MS for $4bn they'd try to get that money regardless of any good faith action on MS's part. That's just business. "

Can you point to an instance where Google has done this, or something similar, before please? It must be someone neutral they have done it to, other than as a defensive move reacting to aggression the other party instigated,, so don't point to the current Motorola spat.

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WTF?

H.264?

I thought that was part of MPEG-LA, which includes both MS and Apple (although not Google).

Still, presumably if H.264 is owned by Google and worth 4 billion a year, El Goog will be happy to pay an equal amount for MPEG-LA licensed patents, no?

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Boffin

Re: H.264?

from MPEG-LA:

"Q: Are all AVC essential patents included?

A: No assurance is or can be made that the License includes every essential patent. The purpose of the License is to offer a convenient licensing alternative to everyone on the same terms and to include as much essential intellectual property as possible for their convenience. Participation in the License is voluntary on the part of essential patent holders, however."

http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/FAQ.aspx

So MPEG-LA covers SOME of the patents required, maybe even most of the patents required, they make no representation that they cover ALL the patents required.

Google, Inc. is an MPEG-LA licensee, but their rate cannot be increased by more then 10% per renewal.

http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/Licensees.aspx

FACTS, aren't they fun?

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Pirate

Re: H.264?

So what exactly are you getting at here?

Are you saying that Googorola own a part of H.264 and can charge what they like for it to whomever they please but that MPEG-LA cannot charge Google any more (rising by 10%pa) for use of the other 99% of the standard?

Wow, that sounds fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.

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FRAND may not apply.

GOOG is not a MPEG-LA licensor, so their patents are not part of the pool.

GOOG IS a licensee of the other MPEG-LA patents, and the contract GOOG has says the rate cannot be increased by more then 10% each renewal (as all MPEG-LA contracts do).

That is all I said, I made no judgment on the "fairness" of it. As to FRAND, it's likely that neither GOOG nor Motorola where part of the any of the 4 working groups that jointly developed the standard, and therefor are not subject to FRAND terms on their patents (without knowing more then this article provides, I can't really check).

That said, I can only assume AAPL already licensed the patents in question, as I cannot imagine GOOG missing the chance to go after them.

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Re: FRAND may not apply.

I'm pretty sure Moto were involved in the standardisation. They were/are pretty big in STBs and they might even have encoders. I'm not aware of them claiming they are not bound by FRAND commitments just that they are so loose they don't impose much restriction.

Also if you have relevant patents it makes sense to be involved and to get them into the standard so that you can collect licensing fees which even at super-cheap FRAND rates are more than you can get if no one uses the tech.

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Holmes

Ain't payback a bitch.

Extortionate?

"The $5 per Android handset they swiped from us set the bar, m'lud. Now we expect a similarly ridiculous figure in return."

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Re: Ain't payback a bitch.

Re: Ain't payback a bitch.

I doubt MS had frand patents so they can ask what they want. Motorola probably have frand patents in this instance so they can't. Even a child should be able to figure out the difference.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ain't payback a bitch.

This now means Android fans can't moan about Microsoft's extortion :) time to shut up fandroids.

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Stop

MPEG-LA charge companies a maximum of $6.5M per year to use virtually all of the H.264 patents

Where on earth do Google get these numbers from, and how can they justify them as FRAND?

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Anonymous Coward

Makes Apple look reasonable.

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Law
Coffee/keyboard

"Makes Apple look reasonable"

You shut your filthy mouth this instant, before I wash it out with soap! :(

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going thermonucliar is not a going for a walk

there is some (collateral) damage to be done

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Can somebody stop the world please, I want to get off.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Action = Reaction - Google are defending against MS legal attacks.

You are missing the collateral damage to anyone else who wants to make use of a standard and not be held hostage for all of their profit margin (or more) by the next company that thinks FRAND doesn't mean anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft's agression.

Quoted by you, maybe.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Quoted by you, maybe.

Filed in evidence in a US court, no less:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/05/chair_chucking/

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Mushroom

Careful what you wish for Google

Given that everyone in the tech industry now seems to be infringing dozens of the patents of everybody else, all these companies should surely be trying to tone it down a bit?

If Google gets awarded $4gazillion a year then Microsoft is going to be looking to get that back pretty damn quick and is likely to go nuclear with it's arsenal and you can be pretty sure that the Choccy Factory is infringing a few of them.

This in turn will prompt desperate retaliatory actions from others.

It's all starting to look a bit Dr Strangelove. I was thinking that maybe this is what the patent system needs, but the only people left standing at the end will be the lawyers.

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Anonymous Coward

@Eadon

You've made some very stupid posts in this thread. These attempts by Google, Motorola, and Samsung to extort billions of dollars by using FRAND-encumbered standards-essential patents are being investigated in many jurisdictions around the world as anti-trust violations, and breach the contractual obligations that were undertaken as a condition for those patents becoming standards-essential.

You need to make some effort to reduce your ignorance.

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@the lying AC

Don't lie here, AC. I tell what Goog, Sammy and Mottie want: Aut bellum aut pax. 2% for a FRAND patent is reasonable, MS&Apple disagree and get litigious yet again. Of course, some pretty non-obvious hight-tech patents should not equate with the "rounded corners", "rubber band", "long exFAT filenames" idiocy filled with prior arts, it's still pretty fair.

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Mushroom

Re: @Eadon

Since when did Microsoft sue or threaten anyone over FRAND patents? As far as I am aware, Microsoft are only enforcing non FRAND patents against Android, etc. This is why Google have an inherrently much weaker position....

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Re: @Eadon

These attempts by Google, Motorola, and Samsung to extort billions of dollars by using FRAND-encumbered standards-essential patents are being investigated in many jurisdictions around the world as anti-trust violations

Yeah, and Trading Standards may be investigating my local grocer for selling Satsuma's as Oranges. An Investigation doesn't mean the offence was committed, so come back when there's a conviction eh?

Both Apple and Microsoft failed to enter negotiations, deciding instead to jump straight to litigation. To me that says quite a lot about their motives, regardless of whether you think the opening price was high. Clearly it's an attempt to neuter FRAND so that Apple and Microsoft can do what they want and sue anyone who disagrees, soon the only phone you'll be allowed to by will be the iNokia iLumia

See, it's easy when we're allowed to make assumptions without any real evidence isn't it?

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Re: @Eadon

Since when did Microsoft sue or threaten anyone over FRAND patents? As far as I am aware

I'd be inclined to believe (based on past behaviour) that if they actually had any FRAND patents they'd be doing exactly that.

Not that it makes your post wrong of course, MS haven't threatened anyone using FRAND patents AFAIK. Of course given that every settlement has been secret, we don't actually know.

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Re: Careful what you wish for Google

The Dr Strangelove scenario might not be bad.

Anything that destroys SOFTWARE patents is a good thing.

-There is more than one way to cook a curry!

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Re: Careful what you wish for Google

It's not really a defence. Motorola has been at this for some time. Let's quit pretending Google is some sort of happy fairy that hates patents. Buying motorola was the only way they were going to get the play the same game as everyone else and they wanted to play it.

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