Google is buying Motorola, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft is backing down. On August 22, the software giant’s battle with Motorola resumed in a trial held before the International Trade Commision (ITC) in Washington. Microsoft is alleging that Motorola Mobility is infringing on seven of its patents and is requesting to halt the imports of certain Motorola phones. Motorola, for its part, is suing Microsoft back.
Microsoft is seeking to block the import of several Motorola phones, including the Droid 2, Droid X, Backflip, Charm, Cliq XT, and Devour, reports Bloomberg. While we don’t know the specifics, it appears that the patents Microsoft is “defending” have to do with items that are “essential to the smartphone user experience,” including syncing functions for email, calendars, and contacts and the ability for the operating system to notify applications about changes in phone signal strength and battery life.
Interestingly, these features are somewhat related to features that Microsoft is heavily touting in new builds of Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s new smartphone OS makes heavy use of syncing all sorts of things, providing big hubs of information to users where valuable information is aggregated together and automatically updated. In addition, one of the new features of Windows Phone 7.5 is an enhanced way for the operating system to communicate with applications, allowing them to only draw power when its readily available. When it was announced earlier this year, this feature was described as something different from how Android manages its applications.
Let’s hope that Google’s new war chest of 17,000 patents and 18 magical patents will help it defend against Microsoft’s accusations. We know Google needs to defend itself, but will buying Motorola really stop anything, or is it just escalating the war further? At some point, somebody is going to need to take the high ground and kickstart the desire for actual patent reform. Google could do that, but will it?