Nokia, Microsoft support patent trolls: Google

Nokia, Microsoft support patent trolls: Google

Summary: Google has submitted a complaint to European and US regulators, claiming that Microsoft and Nokia are creating patent "trolls" to threaten mobile device competition.

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Google has submitted a complaint to European and US regulators, claiming that Microsoft and Nokia are creating patent "trolls" to threaten mobile device competition.

"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. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices," the company said of the submissions, which are not public.

Patents have increasingly become the technology world's weapons of mass destruction, with technology giants hoarding patents to use as their arsenal in patent disputes. Google even bought Motorola Mobility for $12 billion on the strength of its patents. Meanwhile, it was excluded from a consortium that bought up Nortel's fat patent portfolio, which some considered to be a declaration of war against Android.

Google's concerns with Microsoft and Nokia appear to be centred around deals like one that was brokered last September, which saw 2000 Nokia patents transferred to Canadian patent firm Mosaid. Mosaid didn't pay for the patents; rather, it promised Nokia and Microsoft a cut of the profits it makes for licensing patents and collecting royalties.

Mosaid has previously issued patent-infringement lawsuits against a number of technology companies, including Dell, Research In Motion (RIM), Intel and Huawei Technologies. It sued Apple over patent infringement last March.

The patents and patent applications cover mobile technologies, including patents and applications that are considered to be "essential" to 2G, 3G and 4G communications standards.

Google's statements indicate that it is concerned that Mosaid and other similar businesses will use the patents to bludgeon Microsoft and Nokia's mobile competition.

Microsoft told ZDNet Australia that it has no comment, as it has not seen the complaint. However, Microsoft told our sister site CNET in the US:

"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. This seems like a desperate tactic on their part."

Nokia had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

Topics: Google, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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