Here we go again.
It seems like a week can’t go by now without some company suing another company over some lame software patent. The latest is Microsoft which today announced it was suing Motorola for features on their Android phones.
As it continues to rapidly grow in size, Android is increasingly a target of such suits. But the weird thing about these suits is how they always seem to be indirectly targeting Android. That is, companies aren’t suing Google for Android, they’re suing manufacturers using Android on their phones. See: Apple suing HTC for another example of this.
So what does Microsoft think is being infringed upon here? Here’s the key blurb from Microsoft PR:
Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.
So basically it sounds like Microsoft is upset about the customizations Motorola has been making for its popular Droid brand of Android phones.
But the details are the best part. Microsoft is suing Motorola over battery power and signal strength notifications. Oh, and email syncing. Yeah, this is getting out of control.
In a blog post on the matter, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Horacio Gutierrez, even cites the similar lawsuits by Apple and Oracle as validation of their own. Ugh.
Update: In the comments, Seth Weintraub brings up a great point:
Microsoft is obviously pissed that Motorola is ‘all in’ on Android. Otherwise, why would they back UP HTC in their case, yet sue Motorola.
Back in April, Microsoft struck a patent deal with HTC — undoubtedly over much of this stuff. HTC is helping out with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 7, Motorola is not right now.