Microsoft launches patent attack on Motorola

The smartphone patent wars seem never-ending - perhaps the tech giants will keep battling in courtrooms forever.

In a trial before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, the worlds largest software maker, Microsoft Corp., has accused Motorola Mobility of infringing upon seven of its patents and has requested a ban on certain Motorola phones, including the Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq XT, Devour, Backflip and Charm. Microsoft says that the Android based smartphones made by Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. use technology derived from Microsoft inventions.

The ITC has the power to stop imports of products, which violate patent laws in USA. This is the first case involving Motorola to be heard by the agency since Google Inc. declared its intention to buy the company for $12.5 billion. Google is mainly buying Mobility Holdings Inc. to gain access to its trove of patents that could be used as a bulwark against a surge of lawsuits targeting handsets and tablet computers that use Googles Android operating system.

Ever since Android became the most popular smartphone OS in the world, Microsoft has been doing a brisk trade in Android patent licensing. It has already entered into lucrative deals with companies like HTC, Huawei, and ZTE. According to reports, HTC has been its biggest win. Microsoft gets about $5 for every Android based handset that HTC makes. This is more than what Microsoft gets from the licensing of its own Windows Mobile. Now Microsoft is going after Samsung, which is one of the biggest users of Android.

The truth is that Microsoft has more patents than Google. A whole lot more. In its 13-year history, Google has received about 700 patents, whereas Microsoft has received 700 patents in just last four months. Microsofts total portfolio is thought to be of around 18,000 patents. A majority of the companys patents were awarded within the last decade.

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