Happy Friday, here’s some more patent trolling nonsense for you today: Google said on Thursday it had filed a complaint with the European Commission which claims cell phone maker Nokia is colluding with Microsoft to make money off their patents. The complaint states that the two companies are using proxy companies (read: patent trolls) to fight against Google Android.
Nokia has since called the complaint both “frivolous” and “wrong,” while Microsoft said it was a “desperate tactic.”
Specifically, Google cited Canada-based Mosaid Technologies as one of the proxies Microsoft and Nokia were using to enforce their patent rights. Mosaid acquired 1,200 Nokia patents in 2011, and has since been pursuing legal action over infringements. Google, however, had not yet been sued by Mosaid, saying the complaint was a preemptive measure. The concern on Google’s part is that if enough legal risk emerges for OEMs who want to build Android phones, they’ll simply turn to Windows Phone instead.
Google also reminded Nokia of its prior promise to not enforce IP rights against the Linux Kernel (the core of Google’s Android OS).
In a statement to the WSJ, a Google spokesperson said:
“Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices.”
Microsoft has since responded with a statement of its own:
“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.”
For its part, Nokia stated that it and Microsoft keep their IP separate, and decide independently of each other what their patent strategies are. Nokia also noted that it has “made regular patent divestments over the last five years. “In each case, any commitments made for standards-essential patents transfer to the acquirer and existing licences for the patents continue,” the company said.
In addition, a Nokia spokesperson speaking to Reuters said, “though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google’s suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on intellectual property rights is wrong.”