The Patent Wars. Whatever you want to call this ongoing attack against each other that seems to be going on in the tech industry, there certainly seems no end in sight. I also fear that Apple may have opened the gates of Patent Hell and called forth the demons of litigation, to forever reign down upon Android. Whilst this latest happening in Europe isn’t quite that dramatic it does seem to have more of an impact upon Android as a whole – as oppose to general design patents. It’s no surprise then, that this comes from Microsoft, one of the world’s oldest modern software companies.
The court case raised against Google’s Motorola Mobility surrounded a patent that pertains to a “soft input panel system and method”. Essentially, something like this is what gives Android apps the ability to distinguish between input on a keyboard and voice input for instance, without the need to actually figure it out – because the OS underneath knows. This is a pretty serious chunk of what Android delivers, let’s face it, Google have been pushing voice input for some time now and recently revamped the engine for Jelly Bean. What good is a killer voice input engine if you don’t have the rites to switch to it?
Judge Dr. Guntz who has been overseeing the case basically granted Microsoft victory on two counts. One against Motorola Mobility Inc. – the company that El Goog now own – and another against its German-based distributor. Of course, this is appealable however, there not all that common in German court – making the chances of reversal fairly slim. There’s little doubt that Microsoft will want to post the bond of $37.5 Million for each – making a cool $70 Million altogether – as well as an extra 10 Million Euros for each to secure a product recall.
It’s unclear at this stage as to whether Google will be making the neccesary changes to its software to avoid further trouble or if Microsoft will follow through with plans that it has been proposing for years, bring a royalty-bearing license to Google’s door. It’s no secret that Google could avoid to pay whatever royalties it needs to in the future – this is the reality that Google need to face, they’re to this game of software and whilst they have Motorola’s Patent Portfolio, it clearly isn’t as strong as we all though.