Motorola wants a cut of Microsoft’s Surface profits

November 15, 2012
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The legal battle between Microsoft and Motorola just had some gasoline added to it after Motorola requested Microsoft give them a share of their new Surface’s profits.

Today, in the opening salvo of Motorola’s suit against Microsoft, the phone maker’s lawyers brought up the Microsoft Surface and claimed that the device’s Wi-Fi technology infringes Motorola’s patents. Naturally, Moto want’s a cut from the profit.

This comes just a few days after HTC agreed to pay Apple licensing fees for the patents they infringed on, while Samsung rejected negotiations outright.

Interestingly enough, Motorola’s legal battle over patent licensing originally had nothing to do with the Microsoft Surface and all to do with Windows OS and the Xbox 360. Now, after the release of the new Surface tablet, Motorola has moved its sights onto it. How much exactly does Motorola feel is fair? Well, according to their lawyers, 2.25% of the profit is reasonable.

Motorola

The patent that Motorola is using as grounds for this request is an invention related to the Wi-Fi 802.11 standards, which is essentially the only communication option available to the Surface, since neither an Ethernet port nor a cellular connection are available on it.

Motorola’s claims came with the following reason:

Microsoft’s new Surface tablet will use only 802.11, instead of cellular or wired connections, to connect to the Internet. Without 802.11 capability, the Surface tablet would be unable to compete in the market, because consumers can readily select tablet devices other than the Surface that have 802.11 capability.”… Motorola contends that the judge’s deliberations “would need to account for the likely use of Motorola 802.11 SEPs [standard-essential patents] in future products (e.g., Microsoft’s recently released Surface tablet product).

Motorola is eager to point out that the Surface would be useless without its patents. Microsoft, if it does end up losing this battle, might have to pay Motorola (ok, Google), somewhere around 4 billion a year — according to the Microsoft estimate.

With that said, Motorola does seem to have proper grounds for its request, but it will not get to profit from it until it convinces a judge to sees things the way it does.

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