Microsoft looks to roll Google into German patent suit

Redmond has been waging war in a German courtroom against Motorola Mobility, but now is ready to move up the chain of command.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Microsoft plans to expand an infringement case against Motorola Mobility to none other than Google, the smartphone maker's parent company.

Speaking yesterday in the Munich I Regional Court, Microsoft's lead counsel, Tilman Mueller-Stoy, told the court that the software giant will amend an earlier lawsuit against Motorola to include Google, marking the first time the two technology giants have gone after each other in a patent infringement case.

Foss Patents' Florian Mueller, who has acknowledged consulting for Microsoft, was first to report on the story.

The lawsuit in play was filed by Microsoft in April 2012 and relates to Android's Google Maps app. Microsoft argues that the software, which was developed by Google and found in Motorola handsets, violates technology it owns related to "identifying local resources." Motorola has, of course, denied those claims, saying that its technology is free from any infringement.

Now that Microsoft wants to pull Google into the mix, several things must happen, according to Mueller. For one, Microsoft is as yet unsure whether it will need to serve the complaint to Google directly or to Motorola's attorney to accept on the parent company's behalf. Depending on the decision on that matter, a trial date, now set for March 7, could go ahead as planned or be pushed back.

Google completed its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility earlier this year. When the search giant last year announced plans to acquire Motorola, it said that a key component in the deal was the value of the mobile firm's patents. Now, though, they appear to be rolling Google into more legal messes.

In a statement to CNET, Google Deputy General Counsel Allen Lo said that his company's goal is to deliver innovative products. But when tested, Google will fight back.

"We want to focus on innovation, not litigation, but we'll vigorously defend against any amended complaint Microsoft files," Lo said.

Update 8:21 a.m. PT to include Google's statement.