Microsoft is tired of Google’s campaign to paint it as a patent troll, and it has come up with some fairly simple suggestions to stop the bad blood: quit the negative publicity, and agree to our terms (or else).
In a blog post this morning, simply titled “A Solid Foundation for Patent Peace,” Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith and intellectual property head Horacio Gutierrez laid out Microsoft’s latest position on its ongoing patent battles with Google and its new subsidiary Motorola Mobility. But instead of being a genuinely useful way to come to terms with Google, the piece ends up being yet another way for Microsoft to paint itself as an aggrieved victim.
The pair say Google is “deflecting attention” from settling with Microsoft and licensing its patents — take for example Google’s recent complaints to the EU against Microsoft and Nokia — and that there’s no sign of Google’s “diversionary tactics” stopping anytime soon.
“Microsoft has always been, and remains open to, a settlement of our patent litigation with Motorola,” Smith and Gutierrez wrote. “As we have said before, we are seeking solely the same level of reasonable compensation for our patented intellectual property that numerous other Android distributors – both large and small – have already agreed to recognize in our negotiations with them. And we stand ready to pay reasonable compensation for Motorola’s patented intellectual property as well.”
Smith and Gutierrez say that Google needs to do only two things to reach an agreement: Settle patent litigation for all of the patents Microsoft claims are being infringed (instead of choosing a select few patents), and pay the same standard licensing rate that other companies do under “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms” (FRAND).
That sounds reasonable enough, but it’s no different from what Microsoft has been asking Google to do all along, so there’s no reason to think this saccharine blog post is going to change Google’s mind. Motorola Mobility offered up the following comment to All Things Digital:
Microsoft wants to undercut Motorola’s industry-leading patent portfolio, licensed by more than 50 other companies on fair and reasonable terms, while seeking inflated royalties tied to standards that Microsoft alone controls. Motorola is always open to negotiations that avoid wasteful and abusive patent claims.
Microsoft’s “solid foundation for patent peace” may have actually made the situation worse with Google (though Microsoft probably snagged a bit of sympathy for playing the victim so well).